The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog

The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog, by Robert Bly

So the President of the U.S. has COVID now. Everyone is busy Having an Opinion about this, and Making Predictions.

Which is fine. There is so much to process, today as every day, in this very intense time nobody wanted, that has happened all the same.

I feel nothing about this news. I know the facts as reported, but otherwise I know nothing. We have no idea what this will “mean” for American federal politics. I’m tired of spending my limited emotional energy on people and potential events I cannot affect.

I’m writing get-out-the-vote letters. I remain, as always, open for conversation. I’m trying to be more interested in other people, and slower to conclusion and correctness, and neither craving nor scornful of common ground. I don’t care if a source outside of me thinks that this is, or is not, enough.

I’m worried, obviously. About the possibility of civil war. About domestic terrorism sanctioned by the state—which is not a possibility, but a current fact. I’m worried about polarization leading to demonization. About Q-Anon becoming so mainstream, so quickly. About losing our fundamental freedoms, and our slippery grip on some semblance of democracy. There is just this much of my time and energy that can go usefully into all this worry—and no more.

I have too much use, and need, for that more.

I’ve been working on a project with a friend, and I’m excited about it.

My winter crops—carrots, beets, parsnips, arugula, radishes—are doing well, except: are all of a beet plant’s leaves supposed to turn the color of fresh blood?

I can’t walk around outside without shoes on (I avoid shoes, by preference, in and near the house), because little clear bits of douglas-fir get stuck to my soles, and soon I have pirate feet, again.

My reading has been very good lately, my writing less so.

I’ve started doing some strength-training in the mornings on the deck, because I’ve noticed my arms looking loose and it’s bothering me.

Some days, I can summon no enthusiasm to put one foot in front of the other. But that’s what a walking practice teaches: you can, even if you can’t like it.

I recently learned the Bly poem above, and I’ve been reciting it pretty much every day.

So this is what I’ve got that needs my emotional attention right now. It’s plenty. My life is a dog. I’m trying to remember to pet her, and play with her sometimes.


This post is part of The Memory Book Project.


If you enjoyed this post, consider writing me a letter. The PenPal Project is a way to experiment with community, joy, and sustainable creative practice. You are cordially invited.

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