Running Free

I Hope God Thinks Like That

There is a dog I sometimes take for a walk
and turn loose in a field.

When I can’t give her that freedom
I feel in debt.

I hope God thinks like that and

is keeping track
of all the bliss
He owes


Tonight, after closing up the chicken house, the dog and I walked the front pasture. No headlamp needed, we were lit by the full moon. Bare trees, moon shadows, movie lighting. Barely cold enough for gloves. Grass frozen, and sparkling with moonlight when I catch it just so. The dog ran ahead, through the far gate, to check the two dead chickens we earlier laid to rest on top of a patch of snow. Two girls lost in two days, to health and hawk. I could bury them, but why not return them to the cycle in a different way. I hear the hawk was small. A battle in the coop, a mess, a loss. “So much depends on us.” I’ll fire Bert the scarecrow owl if this happens again.

[Two lost girls in two days.]

The dog and I found each other over eight years ago. I love her. More than love her, I feel responsible for her. Her well-being, her health, her dog-happiness, her freedom. Her joy is somehow a proxy for my own.

There was a short time when we lived in a quiet neighborhood, a block away from an elementary school with a large soccer field, playground, asphalt painted with a colorful map of the United States of America. We’d walk the short block of small houses built originally to house shipbuilders in the war, pass through the opening in the fence, I’d unclip her leash and she ran free. Sometimes coming when called, sometimes not. Her bliss was evident with every jowl-flop, tongue loll, eye sparkle. She was happy. Her freedom always calmed me, like a big, audible exhale.

When I can’t give her that freedom, I feel in debt.

That’s how I feel to see her run through the pasture here, or anywhere. My freedom comes from hers, and my heart is happy. The question is, why don’t I feel I owe myself, or deserve, the same freedom? Maybe Rabia has the answer for me.





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