Untethered Dog

You Never Know Where He Will Go

March Badness

I feel cheated. March is now full of so much badness. You can neither make someone go to college, nor stay in college, and you should not try, especially when college is not necessary for him make such a comfortable living in his chosen profession that the children of his unborn children won’t have to work a day in their lives. But the thing we don’t want to talk about while filling out our brackets is that colleague basketball is simply not very good anymore.

Connection

As you drive with your little buddy to the pet supply you wonder if she will be there. Nah, you think, it’s Friday night. A young woman like that, she will be out with her friends. But then Hazel’s is the first face we see when we walk in the door. She turns, her eyes light up, she climbs down from the shelf where she is restocking, and comes right over to greet you. Well, let’s face it, she’s there to greet not you but rather your little buddy. From their first encounter the two of them have gotten along like old pals. She bends down, palms his ears; he lifts his face, soaks it up. Before you ask, she recalls the special orders you had placed two weeks ago. She hops up and heads to the stock room to retrieve them. Later, when she sees you are ready to go, she asks a colleague at the register to step aside so that she can be the one to ring us up. Which she does but not before she pulls out and opens up a fresh bag of your buddy’s favorite treats. As you roam about the world, you tend to look for the momentous moments. But it is in the small and seemingly insignificant ones where love so often is.

The Remedy

When the world gets complicated, retreat to the simple things. Reading, writing, relationships. Do the job. Take care of your home. Consume art. Make art. Yeah.

Power

Naming your fears is more important than grasping at goals.

Time

Never forget the value of five minutes.

Spaces In Between

This is it.

Your dog sits between your legs. Heat whirs through the vents. A sun lamp is on. It is the only light. The night is over. The morning has not yet come.

This is all.

Feel his body rise, then fall, with his breath. He’s in his favorite spot. His body is higher on you than usual. His torso reaches your knees. His butt nestles between your thighs. He is suspended between the couch and the ottoman by a hammock of blanket.

The rest of the room, the house, is dark.

Your hand moves across the page. You search for answers. Your belly rises and falls, too.

His front legs stretch as far as they can. His eyes are closed. His head is on its side.

We are the same and we are all unique. You were baked in anxiety and grief, and joy and pain and a hundred other things but mostly anxiety and grief.

We don’t talk about grief. Maybe we don’t because it’s so hard to separate it from everything else.

In your case, anxiety bottles up grief.

Your shoulder hurts. You tweaked it the other day on the pull-up bar.

Every so many minutes you apply pressure to the tender spot. You press down on that spot and lift your arm slowly, then stop, and hold. To feel the pain. To escalate the pain.

You are working it out. You are aggravating it. You are lifting the cap. And tightening it.

You feel your heart beat inside the pain. And you want the pain to go away. And it will. And it will come back. And it will.

There is no answer, of course.

His breath. Your breath. The pen across the page. The silence in between. All.

You remove your thumb from the spot. You let go of the pulsing pain.

The pressure releases. For now.

Time

The first ten are the most important minutes of the day.

Motivation Follows Action

What a wonder it is that you can sometimes be ignited by things that previously dampened your flame.

For months you had subscribed to a podcast[1] you avoided listening to. As the episodes downloaded — and episodes of this particular one are produced several times a week — you would scan the show notes. Almost always you found one or more topics of interest and which had potential practical use to you. You were engaged in a project to find your way, workout-wise, in your post CrossFit life, and here were three teachers coming into your living room for free. You didn’t want to listen to these shows but you didn’t want to delete them, either. You resisted. Another one already. Why are these so long? Is this one I can delete because it really doesn’t apply to me? — no, shit, OK, save.

But three weeks ago, you listened to one. Then another. Then you started taking episodes with you on walks and on the way to work. You would listen as you fell asleep. Just a few minutes here or there. Suddenly, you had caught up with all of the episodes you had saved.

As you listen you don’t agree with everything you hear and sometimes topics that you thought would be helpful are not.[2] Yet something happens. As you listen to the words, listen to three guys who seemingly live to train people how to move their bodies, gears turn, and you begin to move your body in new ways. Not long after you do, your muscles get happier than they’ve been in a year.

This dynamic shows, too, with books sometimes: you pull one from the shelf, one that has collected dust, a title which you previously set down almost as soon as you cracked it open. Then, suddenly, a year or a decade later and, poof, you read the words and the words change you. The words change your life.

There is a tension here that fascinates. Action is necessary. Action allows for possibility. But action alone is not what you are talking about. This is not a matter of pure force of will. You have to be ready to ready to read. You have to be able to hear.

When you will be ready, it’s a mystery. When you are ready, it’s magic.

 

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[1] Quah, by Mind Pump talking heads Sal, Justin, and Adam.

[2] The goal is not agreement anyway, of course.

The Weight of Water

I do not want to see Donald Trump impeached.

I do want the president punished in accordance with the law based on accepted fines, personal restrictions, and standard punishments for whatever, and however many, crimes he has committed.

I have no faith in the moral sense of Congressional Republicans.

I do not have high hopes for our nation at this time.

I had the thought last night that it would not surprise me to learn of a takeover of the White House by a foreign government or organization.

I am aware to many that sounds absurd, paranoid, or both.[1]

I don’t know who, by name or even in a general sense, I want to run for president. I do not know — I struggle to conjure — the figure who could restore what has been lost. To repair the damage that has been done. Simply being someone other than Trump, no, that won’t do.

The only person that comes to mind is Michelle Obama.[2]

I am aware that is not going to happen.

It has been raining for most of the last 18 hours. The forecast calls for more rain throughout the day today and into the evening.

The remnants of record snowfalls remain in every yard and on every street in my state.

I cannot currently drive my car down the alley I traverse in order to get to work. I may get stuck in a rut filled with water. I may scrape off the undercarriage of my car on a ridge of raised ice.

Rivers are rising.

Basements are filling.

Why does the body produce water when you are sad?

 

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[1] What do you expect on the Internet?

[2] Can you imagine her on stage debating Trump? Oh and how.

That’s Ten Weeks Away

The average American is 23 pounds heavier than his or her ideal body weight.[1]

Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, the average American has put on 15 or more additional pounds without getting any taller.[2]

Every pound of excess weight exerts about four pounds of extra pressure on the knees.[3]

Consuming an extra 100 calories a day without burning them off can leave you 10 pounds heavier at the end of a year.[4]

Among other things, excess weight contributes to depression and anxiety, creates poor intestinal tract functioning, increases joint pain, and inhibits sexual functioning.[5]

Excessive weight leads to lower life expectancy.[6]

I plan to lose ten pounds by Memorial Day.[7]

 

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[1] “Is Fat the New Normal?,” Sherry Rauh, WebMd archives, 2010.

[2] “The Average Americans’ Weight Change Since the 1980s is Startling,” Randy Dotinga, CBS News HealthDay, August 3, 2016.

[3] “How Fat Affects Arthritis,” Andrea Kane, Arthritis Foundation, arthritis.org, undated.

[4] “Why weight matters when it comes to joint pain,” Harvard Health, health.harvard.edu, undated.

[5] “14 Bizarre Things That Can Happen When You Gain Weight,” Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Reader’s Digest, April 18, 2018.

[6] “2 Reasons How Extra Pounds Can Affect Your Body,” Mariya O. Pogorelova, Mercy Health, December 31, 2013.

[7] While maintaining — hopefully increasing — muscle.