It all started with a co-worker's sick dog. We'd chat in wee dark morning hours over a cup of coffee before surgery about the prognosis and progress of her long time best friend who eventually passed. Then we'd avoid such tender conversations before long days and sterile environments but it lingered and drifted into my own world and thoughts of my own best friend.
Around that time, I started to feel bad for my pal who often spent most of her days without any company and had come to rely of me to make the most of what hours of day were left by the time I got home. Many times, I walked past her, putting myself first. I would change and head to the gym or jump on the computer but then all that changed.
I came home one day and we just stared at each other. I couldn't pretend to not understand. I couldn't put myself first anymore. Where was I going anyway? I'd come home in a hurry, rush here, rush there. I had important emails to write and people to contact and get back with. An interview to complete and people to meet and calls to make. Then one day, I just didn't care anymore. One day, I cared more about a sad dog, grabbed a leash and headed to the park.
Since that day, with a few weather exceptions and my traveling we have been at the park every single day. I grab a Starbucks and photography magazine or headphones, we spend a few hours there. We sit in the sun and watch the kids play soccer or volleyball. We walk around but mostly we just sit and sometimes we talk. Sometimes, she inches her way closer and closer to me and then lays her head on my neck in a complete best-friend hug and she closes her eyes in utter contentment. She makes me laugh. I realized painfully, how this small change in my big ole important life changed the quality of her life drastically. I am her world and I forgot that.
I've come to love my time now at the park. Much needed meditation and quiet. No demands, no hurry, just time to sit and feel the sun on us both. Time to think and live in the present. It's all we really have anyway. I left a sense of ambition somewhere in my old life and I don't miss it. At the end of the day, I'm content and relaxed and happily unproductive. I don't know what this all means, but I like it.
Today at the park, we were sitting on a hill and Halo had wandered off in the grass. We were the only ones there. I crumpled up my running jacket that I'd had tied to my waist and lay down in the grass. I was watching this big tree with some territorial mocking birds and how they were pestering the crows buy running them off. I closed my eyes and could hear the birds and the wind as it brushed through the trees. I'd come to need to this time at the park as much as she did. I've become centered and quiet here. I'd become real and whole here. I found my priorities here of all places, a park in the middle of the city.
All this time, I'd thought I'd done my dog this big thing, this big favor, this big me.
The truth is, my dog did this for me.
She saved me.