Every morning I follow a ritual. It is carried out without fail. I walk my aging dog round the streets of Kensington. Some walks are longer than others. I don’t take the same route every time. Still my little canine senses every shrub or tree he has visited in the past. He even knows which fence has a guard dog he can return barks and growls with. During autumn the walk seems to take longer as he smells and wees on every autumn leaf dropped from the now almost leafless deciduous trees.
I am eager to get home to start the days chores. My dog just wants to savour this moment, to delight in the fallen leaf and then in his time to move on. Mind you it is his time as for the rest of the day he will not have this opportunity until night fall.
I have learnt a lesson from this animate being. Those autumn leaves before they fall have a beautiful rustic colour enlightening us about the cycle of life as manifested in the seasons. That cycle becomes more precious now than before because we are unsure as to how long it can be sustained. Our technology tells us to be aware of its richness and beauty for we know not the hour when it will be no more.
Now on reflection I can sense the relationship between me and that fallen autumn leaf. I see it but it also observes me. It formulates the reciprocal relationship of me and humanity in general, to the world. For this being in the world, this self-transformation, when we are able to let go of all that holds us back, is the key to the future of ourselves and the planet which we are privileged to inhabit. What weakens, and indeed inhibits, any future is our tendency to greediness, stinginess and our continually wanting more.
It seems ironic, to say the very least, but if I could have the patience of my little dog who has given himself the time to make the most of the walk, I might just go through life a richer person. Not rich in the sense of having much but being much. The energy and the effort my little canine pal put into the walk may be that fillip that allows me to be more related and connected to our world which is fast running out of options.
Joy, energy and happiness itself all depend to the degree by which we are related and hence concerned about the future of our world. I believe it is only then we are able to get in touch with our feelings and the reality of other people that it can come about. The latter are not abstractions or commodities as though exhibited in a market. They are real and it is precisely in experiencing their realness I sense now my own entity, my own realness. I become one with this beautiful world.
I must remind myself to continually thank my dog because he has started me on a long journey whereby I can express my gratitude to the world through the senses and the knowledge that I have a heart and a need to feel about others and things. Strange isn’t it that from something as ordinary as a dog smelling a fallen autumn leaf and taking his time about it an epiphany opens up for me. I can indeed acknowledge a saying that seems somewhat trite but certainly true that the best things in life are free.
25th of May 2014