“What am I?” Fleegle asks.
“You’re a dog, silly.”
“My body is a dog, but what am I beyond that?”
“You’re a Labrador Retriever dog, one of the sporting breeds.”
“Yes, but beyond that?”
“Fleegle, you’re giving me brain strain. You’re a chocolate lab, and that’s all I’ve got.”
“But what tells my body to run and chew on sticks?”
“Yes, but who is that? What is that?”
I glance out the window to see if there are any squirrels at the bird feeder for him to chase away, but no luck. “You’re Fleegle.”
“A name, a thought, a breath passing across lips.”
“Fleegle, on our walk in the woods this morning, did you eat any strange mushrooms?”
“Why? Am I the mushroom and the soil it grows in?”
I shake my head in wonder.
“Who are you, Raud?”
“I’m the one who pays for the kibble.”
“But you are much more than that.”
“I also pay for the Chickie Puffs.”
As he ambles out of the room, he says, “Yes, but what are you beyond your actions? I point at the moon and you look at my paw.”
* * *
Later in the day I notice Fleegle sitting in the hall staring at the wall. “What are you up to?” I ask while wondering if a should ask at all.
“Meditating,” he says without looking at me as he continues to gaze at the wall.
“You are not. Dogs don’t meditate.”
“I am much more than a dog, and that which is more than a dog is meditating.”
I click on the hall light and take a closer look at the wall. I had a sandwich earlier for lunch and had been rushing through the house with it in my hand to answer the phone. I remember bumping into the wall. It never ceases to amaze me how much mess one person and a dog can make. And there it is at about shoulder height on the wall, a glob of mayonnaise. No wonder people used to live as nomads, surrender to the mess and move on.
“So you’re meditating on mayonnaise?” I ask.
“When it runs a little further down the wall within reach of my tongue, meditation will be over.” He glances up at me. “Or you could drag a chair over here for me to meditate on.”
“Yes, or I could go get the meditation sponge.”
“No, not the sponge, that would rush the mayonnaise and you mustn’t force the Tao when meditating.”