Saturday, July 12, 2008

Walk like a dog

My daughter walks like a dog. I'm serious, it's not a joke.

The last few months Lauren has been getting some work done in her yard - major earthworks. She's still waiting for the digging to be finished so she can lay a lawn. She misses her grass and plants. She's the kind of person who will spend a couple of hours a day sitting in the grass destressing, and she hasn't been able to do that for nearly four months. It's driving her crazy.

Yesterday we went to a native forest for a long walk, just so we could get close to some trees. Today we visited a friend who lives on a mountain that has a significant national park, and went for walk around the neighbourhood.

I realised today that Lauren walks like a dog. We'll be walking along and she'll suddenly deviate from the path a few metres to sniff a flower or feel the texture of a particular leaf. Then she'll return to the path only to slide off the other side after a few metres to press her hand to the bark of a tree to feel the roughness and the warmth left by the sun. She'll get down on hands and knees to watch the dappled sunlight under the fronds of a tree fern. That was the pattern for our walks yesterday and today. If something catches her eye, Lauren will go and investigate, just like an inquisitive dog would.

It's a beautiful thing to watch and to be part of. I remember similar walks when she was a child. I always loved the way she saw the world - as a thing of peace and beauty, to be nurtured and enjoyed. I no longer have to field the never-ending questions of 'why' and 'how', but she still retains that same joy of nature around her. Spending time with her has reminded me of the simple joys in life.

Looking at the world the way Lauren does really works. I haven't felt so relaxed and happy for a long time.


Jim Harris said...

That doesn't sound very flattering to say your daughter walks like a dog. My first impression on hearing that is something very different from what you intended.

To me dogs walk sort of frantic, stiff-legged, sometimes with the tongues hanging out, with their tails up and the butt-holes showing for all to see. So your opening statement about your daughter gave me a very weird view of her.

Now when you explain what you meant, it was very flattering, but I think you should have said it different. Maybe, "My daughter has the inquisitiveness of a dog on a walk." Or "On walks my daughter never stays on the path, she's like a dog running in every direction, doing...." Or maybe, "I love my daughter's dog like qualities." Since people love dogs, we'll assume they are the best qualities.

By the way, in America if you want to call a woman ugly, you refer to her as a dog. So dog connotations have a loaded implication. Isn't that true down under?

How did you daughter first react to hearing "she walks like a dog."


glediar said...

We have the same connections between women and dogs here too but I try to ignore them and avoid them. Dogs are beautiful creatures and shouldn't be used in such a demeaning way. The people who use the term need to expand their vocabulary and take a long look at the type of people they are if they can be so awful to both dogs and women.

I thought I'd achieved a degree of separation from the 'she's a dog' inference by saying she 'walks' like a dog, but obviously not. Lauren is definitely not 'a dog'.

My focus was on the personality, not the physical attributes of dogs. They're curious, playful animals who can find enjoyment in everything they do. It's those qualities that struck me as Lauren and I were walking.

Lauren adores dogs so didn't mind being associated to one in that context. She just rolls her eyes when I tell her she's made my blog again, and I think as long as I don't do anything to compromise her privacy, that's the reaction I'll continue to get.

Jim Harris said...

When I got to the part where you explained what you meant, I thought it was a rather charming comparison. It was just the initial "walks like a dog" image that struck me funny. It didn't immediately occur to me that you meant she runs around like a dog.

I'm always fascinated by illusions - optical illusions, auditory illusions, and even phrase illusions. Often on my walks I'll see something in the distance and think it's something and then when I get up on it realize it's something altogether else.


glediar said...

That illusory perception is one of the very few things I'm enjoying about needing to wear glasses for long distance. When I take them off, everything becomes fuzzy around the edges and the farther away it is the less recognisable it is. I like trying to work out what something is, coming up with as many different scenarios as I can, then putting my glasses on to find out for sure. I'm always surprised at the result.

Not wearing my glasses when I'm out walking also puts me into a little cocoon. It's like walking around in a bubble, where I don't impact on the world and it doesn't impact on me. A nice fantasy.

Jim Harris said...

The trouble is I've been having optical illusions my whole life and I've been wearing my glasses since the second grade.

glediar said...

I imagine that could be very frustrating, but true to form, I try to look for the positives.

Apart from some of the illusions possibly scaring you shitless for a few seconds until you realise what they really are, they could provide lots of fodder for stories.