Dog (Daily Planet email #941)
I am going outside to walk the dog. I don’t have a dog. There is no dog. I used to have a dog. The dog has moved on, to another plane. I have not. Moved on. I am going outside to walk. I take along a plastic bag (same one for months) and the dog’s leash. If I see a nice stick along the way, I’ll pick that up, too. Somebody has to.
In the bright wet slant-light of a spring morning, the leash drags behind me with a scraping, rattling keen, instead of being pulled taut ahead of me, which it used to. Tiny buds are peeking out from the autumn’s matte, and I take care not to step on them, or urinate. I study where the garbage has blown since yesterday. Minding the alluvial sediment, I take inventory of the local construction and household decrepitudes. I see the tree trunks, and I do not think they will smell for me.
People cross the street when they see me coming. Is it out of habit? Is it tragic? Is it tragic to see a person walking no dog as if they had a dog? It is no tragedy, because what they don’t know is: all my ancestors walk with me. I invite them along and sometimes we speak and mostly we don’t. I walk with those who came before me, as I hope those who come after me will allow me to walk with them, so I can see what they see and learn what they care about and somehow, so unlikely, we meet in the middle. Together we form a human chain, with some animals, not for rescue but a rescue nonetheless.