Friday, April 15, 2011

Benefits Near and Far

As evidenced by the sporadic posts, life has been pulling me away from blogging. Yet, I continue to produce art, trying new approaches and will be posting some of the new work in days, (yes days not weeks) to come. In the meantime, here my most recent poem. Since in a roundabout sort of way, Raleigh is the protagonist, I am also including a recent painting of him that I painted and donated to the local Japanese Tsunami Animal Relief efforts.

This painting is titled:

Raleigh in Front of Mt. Fuji in the Moonlight

Where Do We Go From Here?

Last night my two dogs and I attended our weekly agility class.

This is a sport where you run a course of obstacles with your dog.

The handler’s job is to clearly let the dog know what obstacle is next and the best way to take it.

From the sidelines, it looks very straightforward

and when I was merely an observer,

I used to wonder why so many people had such difficulty getting through the course,

and quite honestly,

why so many of them looked a little clumsy out there.

Then I took up the sport myself,

and now people who watch me are wondering the same thing.

How can something so simple and straightforward as a front cross

which is exactly what it says it is,

be so difficult to pull off,

not to mention with any semblance of grace?

But it is.

And I have videos of myself to prove it.

I practice on my own at home,

with and without my dog,

and think that I have it down pretty well

until I go to class, and completely blow it.

My classmates are very supportive and when I do something right

they cheer me on with shouts of encouragement.

But I know from personal experience of being on the sidelines myself,

that they are wondering how I can have such difficulty with what is essentially a change of direction.

The real tip off is when they glowingly praise my dog, Raleigh, who obediently does exactly what I direct him to do,

even though at least half of the time, the directions are wrong.

There has to be a truth in this.

Something about knowing where I stand in relation to obstacles or

accepting the fact that a good part of the time,

I don’t know as much as I think I do,

and that failure isn’t the end of the world.

But maybe the most important lesson is being modeled by Raleigh,

who doesn’t wonder about such things,

and doesn’t make a big deal about getting it right or wrong.

He simply loves to zoom through the course,

taking on whatever challenges are set in his way,

doing the best he can with imperfect guidance.