“Marching Orders” From My Dog Pearl

Pearl Being Exuberant

T.S. Eliot said that April is the cruelest month.  I tend to think it’s March.

March is a teaser.  You step out in the mornings into air that feels suddenly, caressingly, warm.  Your heart lifts.   Then, after maybe a minute,  you become aware of a damp undercurrent.   You realize, unless you manage to collide with an angle of absolutely direct sunlight, that the caress was like the touch of a best-selling vampire wearing gloves.   All it truly is, is warmer than it’s been.

It’s dark when you get out of the subway after work–still dark.   Your eyes fixate on the big hard mounds of extremely gritty snow in the middle or on the edges of certain pubic spaces.

You just know it’s going to start raining soon (probably on the weekend.)   You imagine big pools of water collecting at street corners,  pools so murky that people will risk injury by veering taxi cab rather than get close to them, even people who have spent monsoon seasons in Calcutta.

You tell yourself that this is March, predictably unpredictable, that Spring really is coming.  But, since you are stuck inside for the nice parts of the day, it’s hard to feel good.  In fact, you feel pretty lousy.

At times like this, I tell myself that I should emulate the one great sage I know, that is, my dog Pearl.

Pearl is a very old dog.   She seems, unfortunately, to be going blind.  She sees my shape moving from living room into kitchen with absolute clarity.   But once she tracks me into the kitchen, she can’t always tell if I’m holding a treat in my hand or if I’ve dropped it in front of her, or if I have dropped it in front of her, where exactly.  On evening walks, she’ll almost bump into things (like park benches) or  halt in sudden fear or disorientation.

That part is pretty sad.

Most of the time Pearl is beyond sedentary.  (Sedentary derives from the word “to sit”;  Pearl doesn’t bother with sitting; she’s generally stretched out flat.)    But there are moments, on a nearly daily basis, that still  bring out a joyful puppydom.    These often follow that difficult evening walk.   There is a stretch of carpeting in  my building’s hallway, between elevator and my apartment door,  that she has always found to be an irresistible running track—the carpet is firm,  and at that point in the walk, she’s free–of leash, of whatever “business” took her outside, of any further duties for that day.

She goes, to put it mildly, bananas—running back and forth, circling, grinning a weird canine side grin.   She will run until she’s almost choking, and then (she’s not the smartest creature in the world),  run a little more.

What Pearl seems to understand is that new energy comes from the expenditure of energy,  new joy from old joy, from jumping into joy, and  that joy doesn’t need to be saved up, it just needs to be savored.

Some might say I’m anthropomorphizing.  Some might say that I’m not, that what Pearl does is simply easier for a dog.   Either view seems to offer me something palpable:   to find exuberance, be exuberant (even about the routine, the mundane,  especially about the routine, the mundane);   to get through March, march right on through it.

Of course, once Pearl is back in the apartment, she usually collapses again.  (After one more quick exploration of the kitchen.)

That part sounds good too.

PS – for a poem about Pearl’s exuberance, check out this.

Explore posts in the same categories: children's illustration, dog, Uncategorized

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2 Comments on ““Marching Orders” From My Dog Pearl”

  1. Don Says:

    Did you do all these drawings on the amber colored paper? I like them.

    • manicddaily Says:

      Thanks so much. I do all the drawings and paintings (unless otherwise noted!) They are on white paper, but I don’t have a scanner and take photographs in bad lighting (usually just before my midnight deadline hits), so the color gets a little skewed.

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