She explores the world with a tentative wet nose. Carefully sniffing a damp spot on the trail, a clump of shrubs, a rock. Spotting something strange, she stretches her neck out as far as her body will allow without advancing forward, then a careful step, sniffing cautiously only to discover an oddly shaped log in the brush. And then she’s bounding off to the next mystery.
My thoughts flit from her to my writing, to my to-do list, to bills due, then back to her as she pulls toward the creek, desperate to splash her paws in the water. She has forgotten the log, the damp spot, the clump of shrubs. Each moment is a new discovery, an opportunity for adventure and play. She, a mere dog, knows better than I how to get the best out of life. She would keep me outdoors all day, if I let her.
I should appreciate each moment the way she does, but my mind fails me often. Thoughts roll like waves, flowing toward hopes and desires, ebbing to fears and anxieties; a constant roiling between past and future. What if? What could be? I wish that hadn’t happened. I wish this would. This attention to what I can’t change or control brings discomfort in both my mind and my body as tension gathers around these thoughts. This focus on what has gone and what has yet to come disturbs the tranquility of this moment, this glorious moment filled with beauty and peace … if I’m willing to see it.
I take a breath, expanding my lungs, filling my belly with fresh air and look around me, enjoying the dew glistening on the low shrubs, the flowers peeking through greenery, and the tall leafy trees newly awakened to spring. Birds flutter and sing, some squawk at the presence of a dog in their midst. Squirrels scamper through grass, leaping from ground to branches high above. And my companion pushes through the high grass in search of another hidden treasure.
Each moment holds an opportunity for joy, to be present and mindful to the only thing that truly matters: this moment right now.