Next time you need a pick-me-up, or the ordinary moments feel heavy, perhaps try this:
In the morning, get yourself to a park or a beach or some stretch of ground where the dogs go unleashed. And just watch.
Watch how they come charging in with unconquerable excitement, yanking their caretaker until the instant they get off the leash. Then watch how they plow their noses over the earth, inhaling every inch of it because every inch is fascinating.
Or watch how they hurl themselves after an old frisbee as if it’s the only reason they were put on earth. And when they catch it, they trot back, ears up and victorious.
Watch the dog who has just thrown herself on her back and, now facing the sun, paws the air below it without restraint. Or the dog who really wants the tennis ball to be thrown, so he’s nudging it and nosing it and all his caretaker has to do is just start to bend down and the dog fires off like a cannonball.
These dogs don’t whisper their joy. There is nothing discreet about their happiness. Or muted about their gladness. They delight in their aliveness.
So watch. For as long as you can. Or until the time comes that your chest widens, your head lifts, and you smile, remembering what dogs never seem to forget: that joy, too, can exist in these ordinary moments.