Our grandson loves to be read to prior to knocking off for an afternoon nap.
He’s over three years old now so where we once just grabbed a book and sat down on the bed with him, he now makes the selection and we perform.
As his mother did when she was a preschooler, he habitually chooses books that he has already heard. How many times have we read books like “Go, Dogs, Go”, “Are You My Mother” and a short list of others, I have no idea. But the program is to get a kid to take a nap and who am I to interrupt that? My book-selecting theory is that he’s more comfortable with knowing the outcome of a book, so for now, read him something I know that he will like.
And it works. A book or two into the process his eyes get heavy and just like that, he’s down for a nap and so am I.
Earlier this summer I began a habit of walking our dog right after dinner. Our neighborhood subdivision offers a walkable loop of about a mile and a half. Forty minutes of evening strides to help digest dinner and get the dog some exercise as well.
I’ve told you about our big dog before — a lanky, needy, quirky, athletic hound dog that we call “Jim.”
Among the quirks and needs that he brings to a walk are that he has great eyesight but hates a curved path.
That’s right. He loves not just to see what’s in front of him, but what’s way out in front of him. On an open road or the relatively straight stretches of our neighborhood, he’s fine and the leash rarely strains. But take him into the woods or on a curvy and hilly path, the nerves appear. No longer is he the handsome boy with the relaxed and loping stride. Rather, the whining, balking and straining-at-the-end-of-the-leash animal surfaces.
Maybe I’m wrong; I am several credit hours short of my veterinary degree, but I think he’s like my grandson. He finds comfort in the known parts of life and less so with what may lie around the corner.
And again, it’s just a guy walking a dog and I’m in no mood to complicate it.
At face value, I’ve got this grandson that’s comfortable only with what he knows and I’ve got this coon hound mix that’s comfortable only with what he sees.
My wife has created a wonderful backyard tableau outside of our home. To successfully attempt to describe the amalgam of dogwoods, pine trees, wild flowers, perennials and water features she has assembled would be an exercise in futility. But having said that, my favorite part of the whole scene is a small walking path that wanders into a neighboring meadowed lot before disappearing around a glade of small trees.
To me, the path begs to be taken. To me, the symbolism of what may, just possibly, lie around the bend is as irresistible as it is inspirational.
And I know that the little kid, comforted by being read a book that he fully knows the outcome to will one day come to embrace things unknown. Hopefully, his taste and curiosity will guide him to crack open the unread books in hopeful search of what plot twist might lie around the next page.
As for our dog Jim, I’m pretty sure the curved path into the grassy meadow will forever be what paths into grassy meadows have always been to housebroken dogs like him.