Tuesday, March 10, 2009


...not far from where I live, there’s a place informally known as the dog beach...just a small stretch of rocks and mud along the banks of legendary Wissahickon Creek, where denizens of West Mt. Airy, state of mild late-winter ennui, USA take their dogs to swim....was sitting on an old stone fence by there a couple days ago and watching this guy throwing a stick in the creek for his black lab to chase...the way the dog plunged into the water as soon as the stick was thrown, every ounce of weight and strength and monomaniacal purpose directed toward the goal, regardless of whatever stood or flowed between...sheer propulsion refusing to accommodate or even acknowledge water as something separate...oblivious to all else...fully engaged, entirely focused...every fiber of dog pluuuuuuuunging deep...to the extent that dog was inextricable from plunge...and me thinking when did I last plunge like that into anything?

...when the first edition of Leaves of Grass was published, there was no author named on the title page...just a drawing of a casually dressed guy with a beard on the page facing...however, anyone willing to plunge deep into the first long poem, Song of Myself, got to Section 24 and found Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son...a poet plunged so deeply into his own poem that he emerges, briefly, as a specific individual with a name and place he's from, if also everything, only halfway through...


Anonymous said...

I've often observed the 100% that animals, dogs/cats in particular, give to everything they do, good or bad.
It is a pity that we humanoids have somehow lost that incentive to live our lives as fully as we can.
Hopefully, there are still some dreams that we can put our all into.

Melinda said...

I love watching dogs play in the water. I don't have a dog now--because we are bicoastal, we can't really have animals--and I miss that. My mother has a couple of beautiful border collies that I love to play with when I visit her in Montana. She has a small creek right in her backyard and I love watching them frolic in that. I used to wish that I could play like that--with such complete abandon.

I haven't read poetry for years--although it influenced me greatly in my former music career. Thank you for passing along Leaves of Grass--it sounds like something to plunge into.


Juliet said...

I agree with Aggie. Animals really do give their all to everything that they do. They let you know exactly how they feel to the best of their ability...all the time.

It's sad in a way that we always have to second guess others...or ourselves...on motives for things.

earthtoholly said...

Nice post drjay,

Always love a good dog story no matter how inadequate it makes me feel [smilin' here!].

I'm always amazed by Lucy...sound asleep one moment, barking and chasing something the next. Always ready for action. I think since dogs live in the moment, holding back means nothing to them. Save the enthusiasm for what? they'd ask. Such sweet, zen-like creatures.

Thanks for the reminder...I haven't read Leaves of Grass since high school...can't promise that I'll get right on that, but still, thanks for the reminder!

goatman said...

I cannot get my lab into my clay-pit lake!
Perhaps not the proper incentive?

Erik Donald France said...

Golly, I used to hike along Wissahickon Creek back in graduate scool days, and I know an English instructor who walked his black Lab there as recently as a few weeks ago (the dog died of old age). Weird.

The other thing about Wissahickon Creek -- the German mystics who camped out there in the late 1700s. Ever been out to the Ephrata Cloister?

Take the plunge ;->

Gypsy at Heart said...

Every woman who has ever had a child has done this 'plunging' thing at least once in her life. ;-)

Loved this post but then that doesn't say much (or everything really) since I always tell you as much.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe my last comment got lost on the intertubes somewhere. Perhaps it just pluuunged right in there somewhere? I dunno...

Anyways, never seen a dog or a cat or any other animal for that matter, hesitate before play to worry what others might think, or wonder if they'll look stupid or something.

But also, children have this ability too, to let loose, be entirely in whatever it is they're in.

Been noticing this especially of late, watching my 2 year old niece play, laugh, order me around and offer love and affection so dang freely.

At what point then, do we start taking on the societal conditioning that has us hold back? Become self-concious? Shame really, isn't it?

Lana Gramlich said...

My hubby actually started reading "Leaves of Grass" shortly after we moved in together (back in '03.) It's still in the bathroom, unfinished. I sometimes wonder if he'd even notice if I put it back on the bookshelf. Somehow I doubt it.