Sunday, December 16, 2012

Four-legged friends

So as I’ve been thinking about Elise’s recent post (below), it has occurred to me that one of the things that helps me live fully is the presence of a certain four-legged creatures in my life.  Being around sentient creatures who are totally in the moment helps me to be aware and in the moment as well.  Also, the single academic life can be soul-crushingly lonely.  More than anything else, the one factor that has helped to mitigate that loneliness in my life is this: 

I’ve never been a cat person, but The Archbishop adopted me as much as I adopted him, and every single day I am grateful for it. 

On days when I can hardly get out of bed and can’t manage to accomplish anything substantive, I have the satisfaction of knowing at least I can provide him with food, water, a clean bathroom, and a scratch under the chin… which is really all he wants.  The Archbishop follows me around the house, greets me when I come home, helpfully sits on whatever papers I’m trying to grade, and lets me talk to him as much – or as little – as I want.  When I wept over the recent news from Connecticut, he simply leaned his head on my arm and sat very still for a long time.  

And then there are these comedians, Spot and Speedy, in the backyard: 

I have loved horses since I was a little girl, and the incredible gift of having these majestic creatures around all the time takes my breath away.

Something about having to care for the material needs of other living creatures helps me to get out of my self.  To have a purring cat curl up next to me on the sofa -- The Archbishop does not believe in sitting ON laps, only in sitting next to them -- is soothing.  Watching the raw physical joy of Spot and Speedy racing and bucking around the pasture makes my own heart leap.  If there is anything more comforting than the warm, sweet horsey breath, or more exhilarating than an autumn canter through the woods, I don’t know what it is.  

1 comment:

  1. Getting a dog was part of my recovery from exams plan. A pet forces you to make decisions based on something other than yourself. I felt so disoriented and out of touch with reality when I allowed my own good to be the primary factor in planning my life. That probably has a lot to do with my particular personality, but I definitely think having a pet to come home to at the end of the day is wonderful.


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