Bringing sticks home

Every morning Clio and I go for some sort of run/walk/amble/stumble. For a while in the winter it was more of a slog-and-fall over feet of mush or ice. But lately…WHAT? You don’t want to hear about another walk with my dog? Yeah, nobody does, I get that. But, this is the story I wanted to tell: Every walk lately, the last week or so, she brings home a stick. She can run around the field, trying one stick or another, but once she’s found a good stick there’s no dillydallying and stopping to smell anything or talk to a dog-friend or listen for important dog-news. She’s just home as fast as she can, doggedly, navigating all obstacles with the stick in her mouth. And when we get home she leaves the stick by our front door. David gathers the sticks and puts them in the fire pit in our very slowly thawing back yard.

Clio doesn’t have plans for the stick when she gets home–it’s all about the journey, the process, the act of carrying the stick home. I feel like this is an important life lesson. Others have written about this, but nobody so well as Clio.

Writing this blog, for instance, is like carrying sticks home. I know nothing great is going to come from it, I don’t have big plans for it, but when I have a thought I like, maybe out on a walk with Clio, I’ll carry it home, doggedly, and try to leave it by the Ordinary’s front door when I get here. And I had a dream the other day, that I made a painting of a dream I’d had earlier in the week. And I spent all weekend painting the dream. I’m not the best at painting, but the process of painting was a pure pleasure to me. (As is the process of dreaming.) I don’t have plans for it when it’s done, it’s just about the process of carrying it home from my head to a piece of paper.

If I questioned painting my dream–if I question what I write for the Ordinary, (and believe me, I do) it’s hard to write anything. If I think “what’s it all in aid of?” “what good will it do?” I don’t know, maybe I’d never get out of bed! But the process is so appealing. The process of walking, during all the seasons, of making meals, of thinking thoughts and writing them down, of dreaming dreams and trying to paint them. Of bringing sticks home, proudly, and leaving them by the door, even in the knowledge that they’ll go up in sweet-smelling smoke on a cool spring evening.

That’s what it’s all in aid of. Why does it make it all worthwhile? I honestly don’t know, and yet it does, I have to believe that it does. Carry your stick home, friends. Don’t question it, carry it with pride, nose high, and enjoy every second of the journey.

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