It’s been hot out lately, which is wonderful. Finally, summer!
So I walk the dog most days out of the yard and past the State Police Barracks (where the ladies have planted lovely flowers), across West Street and down the side of the Town Green. We cross River Street in front of the bank, wave hello to the church on our right, and keep walking past the insurance agent, Drum’s Emporium, the real estate office, the Quick-Pick (where Max stops to smell everything) and then start down the hill to the cemetery. We turn in at the cemetery, walk the lower ridge and cut through the hedge with the junked out cars from Joe’s Pontiac and into the post office parking lot. We cross Dover Street and enter the parking lot for the Norris Reservation. We walk past the pond, greet the kids fishing, and take the rocky dirt trail to the right. We walk the trail to the glen with the Big Rock and on through the shady forest, then take the loop around Gordon’s Pond. Max’s paws slide a bit on the boardwalk that surrounds the pond but we both love the silence of the pond and the thousands of dragonflies that live there. We look for turtles and get excited when we hear the *plash* of a frog jumping in the water.
Sometimes, if I have a lot of time, we take the left fork after the glade and walk the whole loop down to the North River which leads to the sea.
It’s been hot, as I said, so Max has decided on the walk back to the house that he wants to plop down on the cool grass of the Town Green and rest. Today was especially hot, so he did it twice: the first time on the grass outside the cemetery, right across from the Dunkin Donuts. I sit with him and he cools down in the grass on his belly. We watch the cars go by. I realize that he loves people-watching as much as I do.
Today we got a lot of smiles from drivers. One woman slowed down, rolled down her window and yelled, “I LOVE YOUR BEAGLE!” The son of a parishioner drove by and laughed out loud as Max climbed into my lap.
We’re quite a spectacle.
Because we’re just sitting there.
Sometimes Max rolls on his back and wriggles in the grass, causing people to grin like children if they happen to notice.
Watching people watch him, I realize that Max is just basically a living commercial for beagles; or more generally, for having a dog.
And I realize that I myself am a commercial for Just Sitting There, a kind of radical thing to do in our place and time.
I like this.
Everyone’s riding by in their trucks with their coffee in one hand and their phone in the other, busy doing something on their way to somewhere. A lot of folks are clutching the wheel with grim determination, eyes straight ahead, pedal to the metal as fast as they think they can get away with, even though the speed limit through town is 25 mph.
I like to hold my fingers up in a peace sign (2) and then a wide open palm (5). Twenty-five, people. Slow down.
I yell that, too. “SLOW DOWN!” But I yell it nicely, in a tone that your Mom would use calling you in to dinner.
Rumi wrote, “Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.”
There’s so much advertising out there for toxic crap we don’t need in our minds, our homes or our bodies, let’s be free advertising for something good and beautiful and true.
Go ahead, now.