June 12, 2014 | Vol. 95, No. 138

Lessons to be learned from faithful dog

To the Editor:

Only a fool is sure, but given the fact that it did not snow during the entire month of May, perhaps summer is indeed upon us.

Now I can walk our dog Sidetrack not only on the streets and byways of town, but also on the all-terrain vehicle tracks and trails, and then beyond to secluded paths etched into the woods and fields long ago by deer and bear, and adapted by indigenous aborigines.

Once we reach the hinterlands, the dog is free to roam without a leash. His movements are contrary to any human logic, rather more consistent with his distant lupine roots. Staying just this side of the wild, he keeps me, man the provider, within his comfort zone. I think that if one could computerize his seemingly chaotic behavior and collate it into geometric terms, I have no doubt that the result would be in the form of a perfect circle with Sidetrack at its exact center.

The dog marks stations of his quest with deposits both liquid and solid, and then moves on. It must seem curious to him that we humans tend to relieve ourselves indoors and with increasing frequency cook outdoors.

It occurs to me that Sidetrack has mastered the art of being, not just becoming. For him the trail has no end, only the bliss of following the trail itself.

And he is smart. This spring, when I was rushing the season trying to cross a deep path of crusty, boot-eating snow, he demonstrated to me how I must get down on all fours in order to distribute my weight quarterly.

I envy our old dog. He cares not what the neighbors think. He gives off an aura of “what you see is what you get” (Flip Wilson). His concerns and worries are minimal. He is content with food, no clothing, water, shelter, an occasional kind word, a pat on the head and a place to lay that head. In return, he gives us loyalty, steadfast company and unconditional love.

He tells us that in an imperfect world, all trails become perfect circles, on the journey shall we find our centers and that all paths lead back home.

Thomas Ylsabeck

Ironwood