Three Pounds of Zen

“Once we have learned to look with equal joy upon the movements of a butterfly as we do upon travel to distant lands, we can forgive the world for those things it has withheld for us.” —Kent Nerburn.

My dog Junie B. is a wee one, but very wise.

She finds her bliss in the early morning hours on our back porch listening as the cardinals call her name.

And watching while the butterflies dance their figure eights.

There was a time when this former 3 pound stray was full of wanderlust.

Though Junie B. found excitement, she soon learned that living life as a stray in dark alleys of the big city offered little.

These days my girl is content to just live in the moment. And this moment she has propped herself up on her soft quilted pillow, waiting for a daily belly rub.

That may be her favorite moment of them all.

And I do believe it could be mine as well.

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One Wise Man

I was told he came from an animal cruelty situation.

I was told to expect him to live another three to six months.

Still you’d never know it to look at him.

At least, not for now.

Mr. Bojangles appears to be one happy gentleman. And he knows what he likes.

Since coming home with me right before Christmas, I’ve learned he clearly wants to be part of the family.

And to find his own place in the sun.

On this fifteen below zero morning, that meant scoring a soft bed on a desk near a well insulated window for a nap.

Occasionally Mr. Bojangles would jump down to stroll through the house, moving with gentle grace as he explored new closets and cozy corners.

Yet his speed would increase whenever I called him or when he heard the already familiar squeak of the door to the kitchen cabinet where his snacks are kept.

He knows that both mean a slow scratch and a tuna treat will follow.

It seems simple gifts bring Mr. Bojangles the greatest joy.

As well as just living in the moment.

And that’s made for one very wise man indeed this holiday season.

Living in the moment

So what if I live in a state recognized for having the most miserable winters, and there’s snow everywhere?

This morning our sky is blue, the sun strong, and the temps are above freezing.

“Carpe diem,” I proclaim to the petite four legged pack before me, tossing each a toasty treat as I leave my house for work.

And fortunately I’ve packed a treat just for me.

I’ve built in a special 20 minute detour.

It’s just enough time to take a quick walk by the lake.

After parking my car, I cross a bridge to an empty, yet sandy beach.

Sure, the sand’s buried deep below the white stuff, but just knowing it’s there makes me smile.

Walking forward I notice the concession stand’s empty. There are no long lines for the cold sodas and hot dogs listed on the red weather beaten sign.

Still a chilled, yet warm bicyclist races by giving me a friendly wave while speeding towards the middle of the frozen lake.

“Why the rush?” I ask, too late for him to hear.

Probably to join the ice fishermen I figure, continuing my march down towards the water.

I cut through a small park on the beach, admiring a little blue boat.

The tiny boat brings back memories of kids, canines, and camera shots.

With hopes for more of the same in the months ahead.

I then notice someone’s dragged a picnic table to meet the frozen shoreline. I move towards it and climb on top of the table.

I pull out a still steaming thermos of french roast from my backpack.

I take a sip, and briefly close my eyes.

I feel the sun on my cheeks.

I hear the quiet.

And I find myself thankful to be living in this moment.

Especially in January.