There I was, cruising along the slippery neighbourhood sidewalks of the Canadian small town suburbs, trying to avoid face-planting into a patch of black ice.
Pulling me along was my freak on a leash, Ginger: an uber happy, hyperdetermined golden retriever puppy with a floppy tongue and an urge to explore.
I was dog sledding sans sled. Waterskiing on wet snow.
“Who’s walking who?” a passerby quipped.
He had a fair point.
I wasn’t in control, the dog was. She was completely setting the pace, and there was nothing I could do about it.
My 11-year old stick-figure frame was no match for an excited 60-pound pup with a strong biological drive to sniff out and urinate on everything in sight. I never stood a chance.
My current mobile lifestyle means no pets for me, but at times it still feels if something else is setting the pace.
I wonder if dogs have the same fundamental awareness of the finite nature of their existence that humans do. That constant mental battle with the subconscious understanding that one day, in the increasingly near future, we’re going to die. It can sometimes feel as if the animalistic part of us has us by a leash, pulling us around in search of the next milestone while we’re left struggling to stay on our feet.
The pace is being set for us. Giant intergalactic mutts with their tongues out and tails wagging, pulling us along through time and space.
We’re not doing the walking, we’re being walked.
WALKING THE TURTLE
Take a walk with a turtle and behold the world in pause.Bruce Feiler
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise has a lifespan of up to 150 years.
Unlike humans or dogs, these prehistorical creatures must hold the sense that time moves really slowly.
As a kid, I remember thinking how cool it would be to ride one. Like mini Jurassic Park.
Before going to Hawaii in 2014, swimming with sea turtles was always on my bucket list. It had the same appeal as swimming with dolphins or cage diving with Great White Sharks. Real-life Planet Earth experiences. True observation in the flesh, absorbing the animal’s nature instinctually: the slow pace of life, the playfulness, the killer instinct.
I think our hard-shelled reptilian friends make great metaphorical maestros for several reasons:
- They move slowly. They don’t really have a choice, so they’re content at the pace they’re going.
- Sea turtles follow change. They sense out the warm waters and let themselves get swept up by the current as they go.
- They’re always at home.
Basically, they act as nature’s reminder to slow down and chill the f*ck out.
And for this reason, I think they’d make the perfect pacemaker.
That’s exactly how the flâneurs of Paris felt while parading up and down the streets with turtles on leashes. It helped enforce the pace necessary to slow down and truly observe.
I think it’s about time this made a comeback.
[TO BE CONTINUED…]
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