Thursday, August 19, 2010

Animals think more than you do

I’ve walked the earth this week empty headed.

One day, when I looked at my dog Riley as he gazed thoughtfully out the window of my sunroom, I got the impression that he had more thoughts in his head than he could think at one time. So he was letting them float through his mind like highway signs:
Look at that cat across the street. If it comes over here I will bark at it. The sun feels good on my head. Where’s Dad? Dog biscuits. Yum. I wonder what it’s like to play a tuba. When I get out, I’m going to pee on that bush.

And there I was, nary a thought in my mind. I was just humming, that incessant, repetitive refrain:
Hm HM hm-hm hm-hm hmmm. Hm HM hm-hm hm HM hm-hm. HM hm HM hm hm hm hm.
This is otherwise known as: “I AM Jesus little lamb. EVER glad at heart I am. For MY Shepherd gentLY guides me. Knows MY needs and well PROvides me. LOVES me every day the same. eVEN calls ME by my name.” It’s one of the first hymns I learned, #648 in the old Lutheran Hymnal, by Henriette von Hayn, in the year of our Lord 1784.
A sweet little song, but imagine humming it over and over for FIVE DAYS.

While my dog ponders the universe, I’m a broken record with a 225-year-old kiddie tune.

It’s humbling.

I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow for a weekend writers conference. All week I’ve been a doer, not a thinker, taking care of household business, hanging out with my daughters (my eldest, Annika, is visiting again), looking at old photos, being with my kids while they process the death of their grandmother.

Even my cat thinks more than I do these days. Look at this face.

See the wonder? The curiosity? I believe she’s having an internal debate about existentialism versus determinism, and existentialism is winning. Can’t you just see Descartes in her eyes? I THINK, THEREFORE I AM.



Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Love the post. Your cat is beautiful...your doggie, ummm, obese (which I know all too well about--see Disco's posts on my cat blog. He is on a great new food now and I have high hopes that he will be at his goal of 12# by Thanksgiving!)

Totalfeckineejit said...

I see nothng but instintive self-centred coldness in the cat, just look at those narrowed pupils, it's restricted channels of ME.But the dog? Dogs rule the world.Well they don't but they should.Dogs aren't just ME, ME, ME, they're YOU , YOU, YOU!! And Me.

And his name is Riley? How cool is that?

And to prove that dosare our soul brothers, they often look REAL sad, how often does a cat do that?

Oh yes,Chris, that dog of yours is thinking alright.I'm delighted you have Riley and I'm equally delighted that Riley has YOU!!

Dianne said...

We all need our down time, you're making room for the weekend to come. Let us know how it goes!

I have no room for thoughts, dang work! but somebody's gotta do it (sigh)


Indigo said...

There isn't a day that goes by, I don't ponder the thoughts of my animals. Somehow with shorter life spans, they intimately know the simplest things in life provide the most pleasure. (Hugs)Indigo

The Bug said...

I know for sure that animals think more than I do - I work very hard to make sure there aren't any thoughts muddying up my brain :)

Good luck at the conference! Break a pencil! Or is that the right thing to say?

Anonymous said...

Awwwwww... your beagle and my beagle should meet someday. (If mine lives through today, that is. She is out chasing squirrels in the 40 acre wilderness-also-known-as-my-backyard.)

I think the kitten is definitely a philosopher from another lifetime... Her eyes are so peaceful and you're right- she's mulling something. Maybe the butterfly she just ate.

(I'm kidding!)

Monkey Man said...

Thanks for the update, Chris. There is a certain numbness that follows the loss of a loved one. If you want to know what dogs think, just watch 'Up' a really cute Disney/Pixar movie. I'm not big on cartoon, but this one was toughing.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. cute cat...hope you have fun at the conference...sometimes we over think anyway...smiles.

Shakespeare said...

Sometimes I simply can't think anymore.

I need to pause a bit. Thanks for reminding me.

Birdie said...

Chris! I love it. Riley is just so very cute there, I mean that is the picture of the year! :-) and the cat - something so mysterious about the cats ... I wonder whether their thoughts are really the way we imagine them to be ... have a great time at the conference Chris! looking forward hearing from you soon, hugs!!
ps: that humming thing - but you 'beat' me on that I don't think that I did ever hum for 5 days the same one ... lol :-)

Syd said...

Animals are so great. They are zenlike, so living in the moment. Take care Chris.

Woman in a Window said...

I spit big and full onto my screen, Chris, at the pondering of the tuba. TUBA! Ha!


RNSANE said...

I'm glad you are getting away for the weekend. What fun to meet with other writers. I've never been to anything like that. All my conferences for the past 21 years have had to do with forensics. I could use something that doesn't have to do with dead bodies or maggots!

Riley is so cute. I often wonder what animals are thinking. Do he and the kitty love each other?

Rachel Fox said...

Oh the animals are better than everything. No question.

marie said...

cute post of your animals' thoughts. Your photographs are captivating and always a pleasure to view.

C.M. Jackson said...

I loved this post. Riley looks like a buddha meditating. I believe dogs have the answers but they don't hold it against us--you can see it in their eyes all...cats on the other hand;-)

hope your writing went well!