Tuesday, June 15, 2010
(In the summer of 2006, while I was walking Jack along our normal morning route, I began to wonder about the multiple scenerios that might have brought hominid and canid close enough to actually make contact, establish a relationship and become friends. I came home and quickly wrote this little story, inspired by a dog with yellow eyes that I met in Mexico the year before. That experience and this story caused me to write a book about the depths of canine possibility and how the way we see dogs keeps them in the shallows of their potential.)
The man could not remember a time when he did not see the animals. They had always been at the edges of his life. They were two family clans, canid and man, distant, separate, yet tied together with a cord of mutual benefit. Every day, they dreamed each other into being.
As a child, the man was told stories of these animals. The stories informed his life with the animal’s ways of hunting and protecting their clan. They were swift and savage killers: Carnivora. The boy who listened had learned a fear of them and the man he grew into taught this fear to his children. And so it went from family to family in his clan.
The man’s waking life was inhabited by many animals. Some fell on his spear so the man and his family would eat and know warmth. Animals often visited his dreaming life as well. When the canid entered the man’s dreams, it would fix him with penetrating yellow eyes. He would sense a knowledge of life that did not match what he believed. In the days that followed, a fog would lift away from him and he would feel more of himself.
In the cold season, the grasses turned brown, the trees became skeletons and the grazing animals moved away in great herds. As the stories foretold, the man would follow the hunting canid at a distance. If they were eating, he might also find food. On one cold and windy day, he moved with them and sat on a high ridge watching as they looked with their noses for the animals they hoped to put into their bellies. Waiting, the man passed into sleep and when he awoke, the animals had gone. He made ready to leave knowing that he would not eat on this day. A few paces from where he slept, he heard an animal sound and bent low to conceal himself. The sound came again and he moved toward the falling sun with his spear at the ready. Suddenly, there, in his waking life, were the yellow eyes of the canid.
Those eyes caught and held him. He froze in the creature’s gaze and a powerful experience overtook him. The man suddenly understood everything about his existence. He felt the harmony of a universal energy vibrate through him. Those yellow eyes contained all the experience that had been and all that would be. They held all the light and energy in the world and all the darkness and stillness. The knowing, feeling and being was pure and the pureness filled the man and he knew himself as the same. In that moment of finding the yellow eyes in his waking life, he was one with the spirit behind them – a powerful, sacred force. He felt he might explode into a million particles of light; he was filled with utter joyousness.
The animal had moved into a hollow to die. Her love of the family clan was so great and pure that she left the group and hid herself. Faltering steps could bring danger near the others. Again, the man heard the animal sound, and the yellow eyes, the same eyes that had visited his dreams, showed him the pup curled into her gray fur. He wept. He wept great streams of tears that sprang from awakening, from love and from kinship. He reached to touch the soft fur. The man he had been just a moment ago would have taken this life to have that same fur for his own child. He lifted the pup and tucked it into his parka. He thanked the canid for awakening him and took his first steps into a new dream, a new life.
As he walked toward his home place he was struck with the sudden beauty of the things he saw. His breath seemed filled with light. He knew that he was the same as the canid, as the tree, as the rock and the wind. He was the same energy as the sun and stars and as the animals he took for food. He felt the weight of his beliefs about the world lift away from him. He knew that his life was a waking dream, that he had created it, and that his creation of life had taken his joy away. The canid had given him the gift of true seeing and knowing and he was filled with the pure loving spirit of the yellow eyes.
His mind went forward to his kinsmen, his woman and children. He pictured himself producing the young animal from his parka. He saw the spirit light coming from the pup’s eyes and reaching into the souls of his family clan. They all would be lifted from their foggy dreams to experience the pure love, light and energy. He wanted them to see their kinship with all that is. He wanted them to know this beauty and joyousness.
His hunger long forgotten, the man arrived at his family’s side. Their bellies were empty and fear joined disappointment when the man brought forth the living canid pup. Were they expected to eat this vile and tiny creature? These animals ate the clan’s dung and had been known to take child sacrifices. The man told his story of the gift of the yellow eyes and of all he had experienced. He told them that he would keep and feed the canid as his own child. He saw their revulsion. The man realized that his family could not wake up from their dreams. His words could not give them his experience.
As the pup grew bigger, it became necessary for the man and his family to break away from their clan. Because of their fears and difficulties, the other families could not accept sharing food and bed with the savage beast of the stories. As the canid pup grew, her eyes appeared more golden and the spell she cast upon the man was the spell of a pure and perfect union. He gave this love to his family and to the animals he hunted and to the land around him. He was often filled with the gift and it brought him great joy. At their own fireside, the man’s children came to hear new stories. Soon, he saw that his woman and children began to create a different dream of life.
As the seasons passed, the canid became a good sister to the children and a good protector of the family. She sounded a call when danger approached and the man prepared with rock and spear. She led him to animals that he could take for food. She kept the camp clean of the offal that brought dangerous predators to the firesides of others. The man’s family was safe, plump and happy. The other clan families watched from a distance.
The canid would sometimes go to observe the animal family clan from which she had come. She too stayed on the edges. Then one day, she returned with the seed of new gifts inside her. She brought forth pups on the sleeping mat of her human brothers. She gave the pups teaching that was both gentle and firm. She gave them protection and she shared them with the man and his family.
Those canid pups began to cast their own spells upon the children. Some children of other families came to see them. Even the adults could not resist. The pure animal essence filled their eyes and hearts and they felt joy. They returned to their clan families and gave their joy to those around them. The spell of love moved across the land.
Some of the pups eventually wandered into other lives and spread the gift of the yellow eyes to the men, women and children who were ready to receive it. When they knew their oneness with the canid, they understood their essential selves and they began to use their joy and their thoughts to change their waking dream of life.