We have a fence around our yard, Dwight. A border to keep you from following your nose and wandering off. The enclosure allows untethered freedom to run, chase and explore. You spend a good part of the day out there, basking in the sun or digging a hole under a shade tree. Watching. Not a watch dog, but a mindful dog. Ears twitching to catch all the bird song, leaf crunching and wind crescendos. Jowls sucking scents in and out as your nose turns skyward to pull in more air, taking you into the woods beyond the fence. Sightings of deer, heron and foxes and the enticing fragrances of the unseen intrigue you.
You are so curious, aware, and accepting of all. I wish I didn’t have to fence you in. But you have shown us, when given the chance, Dwight, you run. Far and without boundaries. In the 2 years you’ve lived with us, you have escaped at least 14 times. Thankfully, we always get a phone call…I’ve got your dog. Perhaps if you had come to us as a puppy, I could have created invisible boundaries by teaching you through consistent, love, food and shelter, that this is your home. A safe haven where your needs are met. A place to stay.
I wish I could let you roam free. That’s how it was where I grew up. There were no leash laws. Back when the world wasn’t so afraid of itself. Dogs could roam the neighborhood, but mostly stayed in their own yards…without borders.
At least once a day, most of the time twice, I take you out to explore the world. Although tethered to a leash, I give you as much freedom as I can, allowing you to take the lead, pausing when you pause. Sometimes we watch water. Clouds floating reflectively on the pond’s surface, ducks cutting the stillness. You stand, stoic, gazing. Many mornings we hear the geese, both of us looking skyward as they honk their arrival. We watch them circle the pond, lower their black leathery feet and skim across the water. Wow! Thanks for showing me this, Dwight.
Recently , on our walk, we encountered a broken picket on a fence. On the outside looking in, you insisted on crossing the border. I let you go as far as you could squeeze, so you could see the other side. I’m not sure if the grass was truly greener, but after a moment, seeming satisfied, you backed out and we continued on our walk.
There are two sides to every fence, Dwight. On one side it can be viewed as protection. A barrier to keep “things” out, like predators and annoyances. Some find comfort in exclusion. Staying inside the lines. However, this can create a fear of the outside.
And sometimes a boundary is used to keep “things” in, like dogs and children. To keep them safe. Protected. Some find comfort in keeping their loved ones close. Hovering. This too, can create a fear of the outside.
I wish we could all learn to create and respect our own boundaries. Just take care of our corner of the world. Maybe then, we wouldn’t be so afraid and need barriers. For now, my wish is for us all to find a few broken pickets, to allow a kind, curious exploration of the other side.