The skinny dog limped onto the road. Her ribs stuck out, a thin fur hanging unevenly over them. There was no one on the road at this time of the day; every sane soul was taking shelter from the sharp summer rays. She raised her low head weakly, eyes peering up at me in dull curiosity. Not seeing anything of interest, she lowered her head again, conserving her energy for breathing. The sun beat down, mercilessly.
I paused under the shade of some trees a bit down the road and looked back. The dog had settled into a resting pose, placing its head on the cement pavement, between her front paws. She seemed dead, except I knew she wasn’t. I could see her body rising and falling. Still, much like the dead, she had a serene look.
I had stepped out to escape the oppressive thoughts that were clawing at me inside my small flat. The air outside, though stiflingly hot, was still preferable as at least the wide open space could allow me to run free, if just for a few moments.
Life was bothering me lately. I couldn’t tell why. It felt like a noxious ink was being squirted all around me at regular intervals, surrounding me in a heavy, poisonous fog. To shake this growing gloom off, I decided to do the only thing I know: I went for a walk. It was a crazy time of day to step out, but I needed it.
Without fail, walks have always redeemed me. I don’t know what secret they hold, but I think it is the fact that they take me out of myself. Once outside, I stop gazing at my inside, imagined grief and look at everything around me. It is a great resetting of perspective as I see how small a part I am in the world around me. Almost always, there is a harbinger of this message. Today, it was in the shape of this frail, mangy dog.
Seeing the dog’s serene expression, even in the midst of a searingly hot day with no food or water in sight, jolted me back into place. What had I to complain about? There the dog was, exposed to a shrill mid-day sun, thirsty and probably hungry. She had a funny walk, tilting to one side as if a hip was cracked. Tired, she sat down where she could. Not ideal, and yet, there it was. If the dog was able to reconcile to its reality, as harsh as it was, could I not do the same? Could I finally accept what was around me?
I shook my head, humbled. Reaching playfully at the leaves overhead, I began walking. My step was lighter. It was all okay.