Running Dog, Sitting Boy

The boy sat in the dust of the grav­el dri­ve­way, his chub­by pale legs stretched out in front of him. He stared down the line of the dri­ve­way west, direct­ly into the set­ting sun. In that intense glare of fiery yel­low it was hard to make out the dog already van­ish­ing around the bend at the bot­tom of the gar­den. Most­ly he could see the trail of dust kicked up by the dog’s retreat, and the occa­sion­al long droopy ear flop­ping errant­ly in sil­hou­ette. And then the dog was gone, and it did not come back.

I won­der how that felt. The mem­o­ry of that moment has proven durable, but it is a record of the scene only; no feel­ing, no emo­tion, no inter­pre­ta­tion has ever been attached to it. From what I can tell, I was no more than two or three years old. I don’t know the name of the dog, or even the breed, although from the ears it must have been some sort of hound, prob­a­bly a Bas­set Hound. All I can say for cer­tain is that it ran off, leav­ing a lit­tle child alone, alone.

What did that moment mean? Was it just a pic­turesque visu­al that etched itself onto my vision like a pho­to­graph­ic plate from a cen­tu­ry or more ago? Or was this a moment of loss, before I was able to attach clear­ly such stan­dard notions to events? I won­der some­times if this dog had stayed, if I would some­how be a pet per­son today. Or maybe it left because even then it could tell I was not. Maybe it could tell I was to be the sort of per­son who could sit calm­ly in the dirt, and watch life hap­pen, and silent­ly won­der about it for­ev­er.

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