O'Reilly: The Patron Saint of Happiness
— An ode to all the dogs we’ve loved before.
Run, young dog.
Run as fast as you can.
Unbound by leash, the blue ridge is free range. The naked trees not yet agents of danger but friendly obstacles, providers of pure fun. There are no picket fences high enough, no hill too steep for your fresh heart.
Run, my dog.
Your spirit is free, quick and unbound— I wouldn’t want to keep you from your top speeds—legs pushing with all their might.
One day your hips will give out.
One day you’ll need help rising.
To think—you at the moment are scaling miniature mountains.
My dog—if only you could just run—run like you are now, forever.
If only forever you could be a sweet and innocent being passing through the thicket—a golden entity of childish exploration and bewilderment. You have that now. And even I myself envy you.
Go as hard as you can while you can.
Reach further for that moment; go farther in that moment.
A cliff is but a ski slope, and you instantly become a four-legged cross country Olympian.
Life’s pressing and passing time has yet to ail your joints.
You have yet to feel real lingering pain.
The hill is climbed but the valley looks sweeter.
Nice to see you, got to go.
There you went, and now you’re gone.
It’s a never ending chase my dog.
Don’t lose yours.
The day you question what you’re chasing is the day you question your will to chase it. Try my boy; try to get it, whatever it is. And when you lose it, and have strayed far from any known path, use your good senses to figure out where you’re going again.
But never stop.
Go and do all that is possible while you are able.
Even if lost, you will find your way somewhere.
If you can’t be stopped, why stop yourself?
My call echoes off the mountain across the valley, there is a crash at the bottom of the hill.
I walk on and the blue shadows of the trees fall purple on the red leaves of winter. I can hear you much sooner than I can see you with the chime of your tags. You come the opposite direction from which you came. You pant, you push. You are again at my side. You lean back smiling at me—the hairs on your neck frozen over. You lower your head to direct my petting behind the ear. I point to the distance. You smile as if to thank me before shooting down the hill again.
It is comforting to see you so happy.
One day you will be alone, and it hurts for me to say or think it.
Family members will come to visit, bend over to pet your hair every now and again — but they have jobs; they can’t always be there for you.
The hours between will pass over in excruciating boredom.
The world will be out there, and you will be in—away.
You will remember the days when you had the hill to yourself.
You’ll again feel the wind at your back, the leaves slipping under your feet.
The constant blue of the sky on your favorite days.
There are only so many days left until you should be confined to one place, and you are ignorant in the quickness of each moment’s passing. Maybe it’s better that way—maybe you know this. Know that you are put on this earth for only a short amount of time, and only an even shorter span for which you can run in it.
So, go on now my son, my dog.
After all, how does it feel to set your own pace?
What can compare to the strength found in one’s own wanderings?
Wander and wonder,
Chase thy love.
Love thy chase.
*Feature Photo: Reilly