June 25, 2019

All is flux, nothing stays still.


Tempus mutantur, nos et mutamur in ilis [Times change and we change with them].

-Anonymous Latin phrase


The forecast is for temps in the high eighties. I’m still working on being able to do a three hour walk every day, but I’m not there yet. Every other day is the best I can do, still, with shorter walks on the in-between days. Today is a long walk day.

I watch Waldo closely when we walk. He gets plenty of water to drink, but when it’s more than about seventy, he looks to be uncomfortable after more than a couple of miles. No wonder, I would be too if I wore a sable coat in those temperatures. Being human, I can sweat – unlike Waldo, whose only temperature regulation is panting. There are those who believe we survived as a species because we can sweat. Before the development of tools, like spears, our ancestors must have been able to hunt meat somehow. A high protein diet was essential to developing a bigger brain. The theory is that our predecessors couldn’t outrun game, but they could outlast them because they could sweat and their prey couldn’t. True as that may be, it doesn’t mean that it’s comfortable to be so hot, you drench your clothing. We’re going to leave at 6 AM, or so, before it gets too hot.

When we arrive at the trailhead, it’s in the mid-fifties. Nice temperature until a breeze comes up. Still, it’s no more than a little chilly and quite comfortable in just a shirt – and it’s going to get a lot warmer quickly. Sunrise is about a quarter after five, so Sol is well up when we start out. The early morning light casts long verdant shadows as it shines through the bushes and trees. Not only have the grass, trees and bushes greened out, the weeds have infoliated and grown to a height of three or four feet. The effect, in places, is to create a backlit light emerald tunnel and we are walking down its center.

I was a little reluctant to get out of bed, wanted to sleep in a bit more. But now that we’re out here, I feel refreshed and enlivened. A nice walk is really a great way to start the day. I can’t tell that Waldo has noticed any difference at all. I let him out of his crate and he rushes to the door, does a yogic stretch and is raring to go. On the trail, he’s wide awake and on a mission to search and explore just like he always is. There is a constancy about Waldo amongst the changes of his becoming an adult. When I first met him, he was about three months old and very fearful. He moved in with me when he was five months old and still very skittish. He is now nine months old and much less nervous, though he still has his moments when around loud fast-moving things like car-sheep. He learned how to sit, lay down, stay and many other things. He went from being a problem on a leash to being, mostly, a pleasure to walk with.   Yet, amongst all this change is a personality that doesn’t change. He is loving and affectionate, he is curious and adventurous, he is friendly and always looking for attention. He is just becoming more of himself.

It’s been three months since I retired. I don’t miss the times before that and don’t think about them. I have gone from high-pressure interactions with people to watching the stuttering ebb and flow of seasonal changes. From dealing with life and death emergencies to watching Waldo grow and develop with a little direction from me. The temperature outdoors has changed from eighteen below, with windchill, ten inches of snow and skeletons for trees, to nearly ninety degrees and a blossoming of life. My circumstances have changed very dramatically, yet there is, I sense, a sameness about my inner experience. Part of it is a yearning to explore, a drive to search for the summum bonum, the greatest good, an urge to be in touch with the essence of the human condition. It feels to me like I put that on the back burner for so many years while I dealt with the exigencies of everyday life.

Now, like Waldo, I am free to become more of myself.

Waldo and my grandson.

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