Kids, dogs and puddles
Rare is it to find a farm without a loyal dog. Even more rare is a farm that doesn’t sport a water puddle or two after the rains have fallen to rehydrate the crops.
And farms without children are simply missed opportunities.
I was wasting vast amounts of time recently on social media when I came upon a video of a young boy (maybe three or four years old) walking along a paved trail of sorts, with his dog. The dog was as tall the little boy was, and the boy was “leading” him on a leash. The two were walking along together at the pace of the little boy, obvious best friends. They were out in the sunshine of the day, just enjoying each other’s company, the dog being very patient with the little boy’s slow pace.
Soon they came upon a puddle of water. The two walked around it first, then the little boy had an idea. He looked back at the puddle, looked at his friend, and carefully bent over and respectfully placed the leash on the ground and returned to the puddle. He walked back and forth through the water several times, enjoying every pass.
The dog stood there looking straight ahead, looking back at the boy occasionally, waiting patiently until his friend returned. When he did, he very gently and respectfully picked up the leash and together they continued on.
Something about this video struck a chord in me. How many times are we too busy with life to enjoy the simple pleasures that await us every day? When was the last time we tromped through a water puddle when out on a walk? I know it’s been a long time since I have known that kind of simple joy. Oh, I’ve done it when out doing chores, but that doesn’t count that’s just part of doing chores after a rain.
I’m talking about an opportunity to be a kid again. How many times have you wished for that? While I wouldn’t want to go through the growing-up process again, I have wished to see the world through the eyes of a child, before adulthood came and skewed my view of the world. Reality comes to greet us sooner or later, and we realize that the grown-ups in our lives made adulthood look a lot more fun than it really was.
How disappointing is it to wake up after years of the climb and think, “Is this all?” Erma Bombeck once wrote, “The saddest thing in the world is to wake up on Christmas morning and not be a child.”
She was spot-on. And there’s where the water puddle comes in.
That little boy recognized an opportunity to add more fun to his day, so he stopped and acted upon it. It didn’t take but a minute, but he knew that the moment-or perhaps the water puddle-might be gone if he didn’t take advantage of it right then. So he sported wet shoes and a smile, his dog waiting faithfully and patiently for his friend to have his fun.
There is so much to learn from this brief story. From the boy we learn to recognize an opportunity when we see it and to act on it, no matter how insignificant it may seem. We learn it’s good to trust that our true friends will stop with us; to treat our friends with genuine respect and compassion; that it’s important to see the world as a kid sometimes, and that it’s always important to stop the busy-ness to play.
From that wonderful dog we learn to always be patient with our friends, to walk their path with them, to wait for them and let them know we are there to protect them, to look back and make sure they are still with us, and to know that our friends will always come back for us.
We can’t stay kids forever, and that’s sad. But as they say: “Growing up is obvious. Growing old is optional.” My money’s on the kids and dogs for showing us how to plow through this crazy ride we call life.
Even when life’s muddy water puddles lie ahead, challenging us.
Karen Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.karenschwaller.com.
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