Thursday, January 17, 2013

Through the Back Door

The sun has yet to appear, but we are out in the back yard for a few minutes after I let Manna out of her crate. She runs around in the darkness, and I stand here with nothing to do except be in the moment. Shortly we will return to the kitchen and I will put on a pot of coffee as she scurries about. I'm looking at the yellow light spilling out from the back door, and thinking about how we all come to so many things in our lives "through the back door". In other words, the lives we finally live, how many of us can say we had it all planned out? Not to many I suppose.  And yet, when I think of all the decisions in my life that led me one way or another, I think how many choices there really were. More than I knew at the time for sure, but that seems to be the way life takes us; we make a decision and we go with it, and there goes the next chapter whether we like it or  not. I watch Manna at the door, she will make a decision whether to come out or not, or return to her crate and chew on her toy. In the long run it makes no difference to her. Or will it? That is the paradox of living, of being a living thing on this earth. The choices we make draw the map of our lives, for better or worse.

 Manna just decided to go back in the kitchen, through the back door. I will follow, and make the morning based on that. That was not a planned act, just one that followed the situation. I, for one, have not really been smart enough to plan out my life so it takes a particular turn. But for the most part its all been good. I'll walk in the back door, and see Manna sitting there in the yellow light. We will see countless mornings ahead doing the same thing, but each will be a little different, another chapter of days leading to who knows what. But she seems to take it in stride, so must I. Those things that come through the back door may be more valuable and immensely more interesting than anything we could have willingly brought through the front.

The Kingdom of Now


This refers to a quote from a book by the Monks of New Skete, an order that writes about and trains dogs as part of their tradition. "Dogs are subjects in the kingdom of now, fully present to the pulse of each moment". Boy, is that true. The early morning dawn hours seem to be a time to let one's self be present to this thought as a temporary respite from the day ahead's many challenges. When I look at Manna sitting there while I pour my first cup of coffee, here eyes wide with an expectancy i can't fathom this early, I ask her out loud; ""what is it puppy?" Is it food, play, or some other need I'm unaware of ? It turns out that it really doesn't matter, because whether I feed her, take her outside and throw a ball or stick, or just pick her up and hold her for a moment, she has a positive response. She's not worrying about whether or not that Client's late check finally comes today, or how much hassle is this afternoons meeting going to bring, or if I'm going to meet a certain project deadline. She's wrapped in the moment for only its own sake. She is lucky enough to enjoy that particular time for all its sacred wholeness, being of one with it and only it. And then of course, after that nano second of sweetness, she is off to the bedroom to grab a shoe or some other object that is laughingly suppose to be banned from her puppy jowls. The sun is just now coming up, but I can still see a few bright stars through the reaching limbs of the tree as I stand on the back porch, Manna rooting around in the large jade plant tearing off large chunks, and I worry a little what this yard is going to look like a few months from now. But, there I go again thinking about tomorrow. Maybe for the moment I'll just stand here and feel the warmth of my coffee mug in my hand in the cold morning air, the frigid concrete on my shoeless feet, listen to the caw of that large black crow that comes every morning and sits on the roof of the back garage, and join Manna for a little time in the Kingdom of Now.