In this issue, Living at Faded Glory, Homer sees it all. Homer has no doubt that the most dangerous animals on earth walk on two legs.
Do You See What I See?
The other morning, breakfast had been served, the guests had dispersed, and Isabel and Micah were taking a second cup of coffee in front of a fire in the great-room of the Inn. Of course, I had already claimed my favorite spot, lying on the hearth to enjoy the radiance and glow of the coals and embers.
Micah was looking directly at me when he said, “You know, Isabel, I’ll bet that when old Homer makes his morning run, he sees things and wild animals that we can only imagine.” “Yes,” Isabel responded, “I would assume that he sees bears, wolves and even bobcats on his journeys; and just imagine the snakes!” The conversation quickly moved on to other trivialities like the recent weather, Isabel’s daily horoscope, and the local obituary page. I was somewhat surprised at the possibility that Isabel and Micah might be living vicariously through my freedom to witness a world that they have no access to. If only I could talk!
Wouldn’t they be surprised to know that in my ten years at the Inn, I have never once encountered a bear. Yes, I run across their ‘scat’ pretty routinely on my runs, but they are long gone by the time I arrive on the scene. I do see multitudes of deer, an occasional red fox, and sometimes a lone wolf (usually in retreat mode), hundreds of wild turkeys, and a wide variety of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes.
Every fall, I can hardly keep count of the hopeful hunters lurking throughout the National Forest in their camouflaged tree stands. Actually, the way they smoke, drink and spit from their tree stands, the word ‘camouflage’ is really an oxy-moron. Even as a dog, I don’t even have to look up to tell there is a hunter in a tree. I have seen years when the hunters have actually outnumbered the hunted. The deer don’t wait around to snicker; they’re simply out of there!
On at least two occasions they have taken shots at yours truly, either mistaking me for a deer, or because my presence was interfering with their ‘big game’ game. Luckily, they were lousy shots, and I managed to get away with my beautiful yellow pelt intact.
But, let’s get back to Isabel and Micah. As I pondered their comments again, I thought, “Really, the dangerous wildlife that I come across on my daily sojourns to the forest are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg!”
On a daily basis, I get to observe the most dangerous animals on the planet up close and personal, and, unfortunately, they are not covered with fur. At the Inn I get to see the human species at its worst, and at its best. I see our guests being themselves, with their social makeup off and no holds barred. Most of the time, they are wearing their “masks.” I guess the major difference between humans and dogs is that with dogs, “what you see is what you get.” If we’re ugly when the sun comes up, we’ll still be ugly when the sun goes down. We are what we are, no layers, few pretenses, no subterfuge. Life for humans seems to be a lot more complex. Many folks that I encounter at the Inn wear their ‘masks’ all year long. Sometimes, up here, those masks come off when people are relaxed, happy, and outside of their work-a-day environments; but for some, the masks never come off. Pity!
Peculiar only to the human species, life seems to be “all about ownership.” Appearance seems to mean everything. Your status in life seems to hinge upon how you appear to others, where you live, what you drive, and what you own. You allow yourselves to be judged by everyone, and there seems to be no ‘right’ answer. If you are somewhat materialistic you’re labeled by some as ‘greedy,’ and, if you’re more of a minimalist, you’re labeled by others as frugal and ‘self righteous.’ If you have nothing, you’re labeled as ‘just plain poor.’ Other humans try to rescue you, or, failing that, merely ignore you. What must you own, and who do you have to be in order to gain some balance and equity in your world? What a rat race you live in! Sorry, rats, no slur intended.
I can tell you for a fact that we dogs certainly don’t attempt to live vicariously through their upscale owners. Most of us are happy in our own skins. We aspire to nothing, and the most priceless thing we might be lucky enough to own is you. After all, it’s all about you, isn’t it? <grin>. The dog that leaps out of a Rolls Royce doesn’t act any different than one who straggles out of an overloaded fifteen-year-old Ford station wagon. Wealth or status just doesn’t factor into the canine social equation. As long as there is a full food dish waiting and an occasional pat, you’re our hero – rich or poor! A treat and a kind word or two are just “frosting on the cake” to most of us.
Think about it. We don’t have to concern ourselves with politics or religion. Your President is my President. If you’re happy, I’m happy! As long as your God isn’t thought to visit his wrath on the world and you refrain from performing living sacrifices or public stonings, we’re cool with whatever religion you might choose. Just be sure to feed us promptly when you get back from your local mosque, church, or temple.
Just remember one thing. When I check out, I know I can’t take my new “Mastiff, Macho Grande” nickel-studded collar that Isabel bought for me, and you will have to leave behind your Mercedes Benz or your diamond jewelry as well. And, unless you’re ‘Old Yeller’, Lassie, Albert Schweitzer, Mother Theresa, or Elvis, few of us will leave behind a ripple on the proverbial ‘millpond.’
Still, all in all, “Life is Good!”