June 4, 2019

“Spring’s greatest joy beyond a doubt is when it brings the children out.”

-Edgar Guest


The air is chill with temperatures in the low fifties and strong winds bite through my light jacket, but we’re walking on the rail-trail fast enough that I stay warm. The wind blows in Waldo’s long hair and whips it up into some strange upswept dos. I don’t think he even notices. The energy that he somehow kept under wraps for the past few days is exploding out all over his immediate surroundings. He gallops from one end of the leash to the other, nose less than an inch above the ground. Stopping at one extreme, momentarily, he turns and glances at me with an “at last!” look, then puts his nose back down and gives a piece of detritus an intense snorf (something between a sniff and a snort), then dashes on. He even gives a few flowers some passing interest, but seems to be more intent on things a bit more stinky. It occurs to me – Waldo was born on August 25, 2019, so this is his first spring and the child is out to play. I do love to watch him having so much fun.

I’ve lived in places near the equator where the seasonal changes were a bit more subtle: big rains, dry season, little rains and dry season again. I missed the rhythm of the temperate zone. Summer was a time of freedom, unattached to school. Fall was the time of new beginnings with the return to classes and friends. Winter was a time of Christmas, New Year’s and playing in the snow, followed by warm fires and hot chocolate. Spring has always been a time of promise of things to come – release from school, vacations and relative independence. I wonder how Waldo will come to view the seasons – he certainly loved winter and snow.

The grass is green, starting to get long in places, the trees have leafed-out. Some, like the white flowered crabapple, have blossomed. Flowers and weeds, including dandelions, have bloomed and all this despite temperatures and winds that make me shiver. I’ve never had a sensitive nose, which in my previous profession was, at times, an asset, but even so, on occasion, I get a whiff of lilac or evergreen or wet, muddy earth. There is a clear difference between the smell of winter and spring. I really doubt, if it wasn’t for Waldo, that I would be outside so much, watching the ebb and flow of the weather and seasons. It is one of the many collateral advantages, along with weight loss and better physical condition. I am more aware of and in touch with the natural rhythms of the world we live in and that feels refreshing and enlivening. There is a thrill in having your attention in the world around you, being outside of yourself and experiencing what is happening, while it is happening.

I doubt Waldo can live any other way. He’s certainly never lost to the world in thoughts of philosophy or even wondering if the world could be some other way than it is. He just trots along, gleefully chasing after whatever strikes his fancy, one thing following the next as it presents itself. And he’s so happy about it! Whatever happened to my innate ability to play, play, play? How did I lose that? Did I sublimate it to the depths of my being somewhere it can never be recovered? Was it the price I paid in order to keep my nose to the grindstone?

I don’t think it is gone for good because some part of me sings in accompaniment to watching Waldo have a good time. He runs and romps, sniffs and snorfs, chases whatever he can find to chase, without the need to catch it, with such elan that it stirs in me echoes of pleasures long past. God knows I can no longer jump and run with the vigor he effortlessly exerts moment after moment. But watching him touches something in me that, to a limited extent, allows me to share in his joy. And Waldo does it so naturally, it just fits in with the rest of the natural world like a hand in a glove.

Waldo is blossoming in a spring efflorescence with a beauty that is all Waldo and I’m right there with him.

All wrapped up right now.

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