Monday, August 31, 2009

The Dog, the Dark, and the Donkey

Vegger has gone back home with Master Joe. There is now a dog-shaped hole in my day. I will no longer get taken for walks, and so will have to become a self-motivated walker. On the upside, my sense of guilt will no longer be inflamed by sad brown eyes continually asking why I am not taking him for a walk instead of watering plants, washing up, digging holes in the ground, and playing with wood. Vegger the dog has separated me painlessly from the computer, as you can see from the recent cluster of no-post days.

One of the strangest things with Vegger came from taking him for his good-night walk. In the Dark. I grab my stick, and struggle to pull door open against the energy of my wriggling, temporarily hyperactive friend. Go round corner, up the path and wham! The Total Darkness Experience. I tap the path ahead of me with my stick like a real blind person (yes I know it it supposed to be "unsighted, but my friend the esteemed jazz pianist, Mr Andrea Pappini, does not think "unsighted" does anything to improve his quality of life. He manages by listening, like a dolphin. I respect his opinion), but even with a stick I managed to blunder into a hollybush twice on consecutive nights. Vegger must have thought it weird, the way I slowed down and went tat-tap with my stick as soon as the light got a bit dim. I stopped and whistled him in, he gave me his collar, and hauled me onward. It is extremely cool to be pulled up a hill at speed in total darkness and total faith in a dog. Unfortunatlely, Vegger overestimated my skills at scrambling up rocks in the dark, but no harm came, and I stopped and sat in the darkness, listening.

In between the whoosh-whoosh of cars on the A38, there was nothing. Only the sound of Vegger stuffling at things. No owls, no scuffling mice, no yelps, no leaf rustle. Just no sound and blackness. And dog. And only a two minute walk to my house.

It makes you think about the importance of light to travellers in the time of our great-great-grandparents. Even if they could see the light of their house, people still needed light to walk through the dark paths to get there. Burning torches were a bit of a hassle, and cast an uncertain light. I bet they used dogs to steer them home. And horses can probably see better than us in the dark.

It is good to be in perfect dark and stillness sometimes. The only thing left is Thought. Memory of things that have happened. Speculation as to what may happen. And in between - the Big Now. Conscious existence. Temporary conscious human existence. Inevitably, the question put so succinclty by Eeyore the donkey bubbles to the surface: "Why? Wherefore? And, Inasmuch as which?".

At which point Vegger decided that it was coming on to rain, and came and offered to lead me home.

I shall miss him.

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