A couple weeks ago, I taught a week-long mosaic art class on a lovely beach in southern Maine. Each day, I walked a couple miles along the ocean’s edge which was fairly quiet and free of vacationing crowds.
One particular morning, tailor-made for summer sunrises and giving thanks, I saw a young couple and their dog up ahead. Even from a distance, it was obvious the dog wanted to be rid of its leash, pulling it to its length, over and over – running first into the water, then becoming a rolling riot of sand and sea shell, then back into the water – twisting the leash around its human, who (from a distance) appeared to be dancing a jig, attempting not to trip over the rope and wind up head-long into the sand beside the dog. I’ve done this so many times with my own dog, I know the steps.
Then, as we drew a bit closer, the dog slipped out of its collar and I’ve never seen such utter joy! The dog’s body seemed to stretch beyond possibility as it bounded immediately into the water, front paws scampering toward that brilliant orange horizon. The owners continued walking, not too concerned as the dog then body surfed back to shore and yes, rolled wildly in the sand.
What a gift! To know this unreserved delight, this abandon of anything besides water and earth and water again – no restraint – no taut leash tugging back to reality.
Then the dog bounded toward me. When I was young, like most kids, I loved the over-the-top-ness of cartoon mayhem. The excessively dramatic show of emotion. No look of joy on Magilla Gorilla or Bugs Bunny would come close to the look on that dog’s face as he raced my way, around me and back again. It appeared as if the dog’s mouth was stretched beyond the limits of its face! If I’d had my camera and the skill to take that particular picture, I would look at it each time I needed a kick in the ass!
As the dog charged back to its humans, a woman came huffing up quickly from behind, a water bottle clipped to her hip, ear buds snug, arms swinging widely and said, “Dogs should be on a leash!” Her teeth biting through each word.
As I watched her rack up her required steps for the day, I smiled to see the dog back out in the water. This time though, he was floating on his back – a mimosa in one hand, twirling a tiny umbrella in the other.