I have begun a new life at the dog park
We go there every evening, the puppy and I, sometimes mornings too if I can wrench myself out of bed early enough. She pulls me through quiet streets and the sandal-flattened grasses of the park and then down a main road and then along the highway and then, finally, to the gated stretch of green. First a world that smells of grass and dirt and fading whiffs of chlorine from the neighbourhood pool (closed now, as of September 4th), and then another world that smells of asphalt and the hot scratch of rubber tires and the honks as people jostle for space to move onto the highway, and then again the green and the clang of the gate, the long bright fingers of the setting sun, the puppy getting lost in the light as she launches after the ball. We linger, sometimes for hours. Her best friend is a Dalmatian named Pepper and they roll over and over each other on the grass, biting at ears and shoulders and hanging on to collars until someone yips and play ceases instantly, only to start up again in seconds. No one cares about dirt here, no one cares about time. I heft her ball and sling it far over my shoulder and release and off she goes. I could do that for hours too but she tunes out after three or four throws, loses interest, finds someone else to chase. She is only a puppy and the world is so bright and big and beautiful, so filled with sunshine and wind. We stay until the sun slinks low behind the trees, until the park lights come on, until the mosquitos rise from the grasses and tell us all it’s time to go. Even then I don’t want to leave, don’t want to make her go home. If only we could sit on the grass and tumble over one another and gently smash our faces into the soft grassy dew and not worry about work or money or making a living, if only we could lie there and breathe as the sun goes down, as the nights creep up earlier and earlier and the cold brings with it the whispers of snow and long dark nights, if only this was all it took to build a life, if only, if only.