About twice a week I engage in perhaps my most favorite activity; taking my dog for a long walk. When I get out the leash she jumps up and down in a way that makes me believe she is only moments away from exploding with joy. This in and of itself brings me a great deal of satisfaction.
Walking today I noticed why I enjoy the walk but my dog is consumed with it. I was watching her sniff around and realized I was only getting about 66% of the walk. While I had sight and hearing going my dog had smell on top of it. I was missing out on a third of the walk experience.
And that reminded me of a girl I once had a relationship with. A relationship that in retrospect I think I enjoyed about 33% more than she did. I actually remember times where I was only moments away from exploding with joy. It was only later I realized that she had no sense of smell so we had gone on completely different walks.
Perhaps I was trying to keep myself distracted because there was another element in play on today’s walk. It was the first day it was really chilly so when I walked by the pond my heart ached a little.
Complicated story I realize, lots of moving parts, but hang in there it will all come together.
The reason the pond caused me angst was because of a decision I’d made in the spring. Due to reasons I won’t go into here I had a tank full of guppies and while they aren’t a particularly ugly fish they are also not particularly exciting to look at so I wanted to get rid of them but I didn’t have the heart to just flush them.
So I made a decision that at the time seemed like a great deal for everyone involved. I would release them into this pond so they could have a few months of being ‘free’. When I tipped them in I remember feeling the same happiness I feel when I take my dog for a walk. Figured that for a fish living five months in a pond beat living out a few years in a boring tank. Which for those five months seemed a good decision.
I was starting month six and I knew that soon the water would get too cold for them and they would die. It was time for them to pay the consequences of my decision. The reality that I could have flushed them and have been done with it long ago provided no comfort. The weirdest part was that I knew the guppies were completely unaware of any of this turmoil. They were swimming around obliviously.
So I walked and watched my dog chase squirrels and wondered what to do with this weird guilt. Obviously when my dog stopped to smell a giant pile of deer poop I realized that not all smells are positive but I still envied his nose nonetheless. All things end so why should I feel bad for the guppies? All things end so why should I feel bad for that girl?
Ok, so maybe all these moving pieces didn’t come together so easily. Moving pieces are funny like that. They seem determined to not come together. Maybe I’m wondering why I’m willing to put on old shoes and worn jeans and go back to the pond with a bucket and walk around in the muck and mire in the hopes of catching at least a few of my guppies and returning them to the safety of the tank when that girl wasn’t willing to do the same for me? To stand in a pond like an idiot with my little net trying to catch fish that have no idea why they are being scooped up yet again. Maybe by going where most people wouldn’t go I can develop my sense of smell and in the end enjoy my walks a little more?
So I arrive at the pond, close my eyes and take a deep breath in through my nose.