A Straight Road and a Dog's Tale

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A Straight Road and a Dog's Tale

Post by Scott »

A Straight Road and a Dog's Tale
by Scott Hughes

In a multiverse, there was a universe.

In the universe, there was a galaxy.

In the galaxy, there was a star.

Around the star, there was a planet.

On that planet, there was a people.

They were an orderly people, agents against entropy.

Their streets were all straight, all intersections perfectly perpendicular.

Their houses faced the street, the front of each house perfectly flat, aligned to the street.

If one imagined a line traveling through the front side of each of the houses to connect the houses, it would be a perfectly straight line. For these houses, indeed, were as perfectly aligned as one could imagine.

Each house had a backyard. Each backyard had three trees, planted in a triangle, a perfect equilateral triangle.

But the trees grew leaves. The leaves grew crispy, grew colorful, and fell to the ground.

Each day, the orderly people would run around and chase the leaves.

Each day, the orderly people would sweat and struggle to organize the leaves.

Some would attempt to organize the leaves into one big pile. Some would attempt to align the leaves in a set of shapes or a series of lines.

But the subtle wind was just too great.

At least one leaf would always seem to dance away before the project was complete.

And so they lived for many years.

But one day there was a man with a dog.

When night would come, and it was too dark and cold to chase leaves, he would sit with me and read.

I liked to chase my tail often, but when he read I would sit with him. He would pet me.

The man read about inner peace in books by ancient Greek stoics.

The man read about natural balance and flow in Chinese books about the Tao.

The man read about the oneness of the self and the other, of the this and the that, in ancient Hindu texts.

The man read about enlightenment, desirelessness, and nirvana in Buddhist scriptures.

In gospels quoting Jesus, the man read about unconditional love and forgiveness.

In ancient Jewish scriptures, the man read about fearlessly walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

And the man pet me.

One day, when it was time to chase leaves, the man did not. He stood in his backyard. He looked left to his neighbor on the left, and he looked right to his neighbor on the right. They both chased leaves, like all days prior.

Until they saw the man and his dog standing quietly, in the present.

They say, "are you okay?"

He says, "yes."

They say, "but you aren't chasing leaves?"

He says, "yes."

They say, "but the yard is messy?"

He says, "yes."

They say, "the wind is blowing the leaves around as we speak."

He says, "yes."

He says, "isn't it beautiful?"

He says, "isn't it beautiful how they dance?"

The neighbors say, "we don't have time for this."

And they go back to cleaning their yards by chasing the leaves.

But they are not just orderly folk; they are charitable too. So now they chase the man's leaves too. They want to clean his yard too.

I look at the man. I fear he will bark or bite at the trespassers. They run all over his yard, chasing down the leaves, snatching leaves right from the air, putting the leaves in piles. They are ruining the dancing, I think. Again, I look at the man. If he barks, I'll bark. If he bites, I'll bite. I have your back my old friend!

But he looks at me and says, "isn't it beautiful?"

He says, "isn't it beautiful how they dance?"

"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid
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Post by Sheilaread »

Wow Scott!
Thank you for writing such an enjoyable short fun story. Even though it was short and the sentences were small for the most part, your writing style and the words you used conveyed a much bigger picture for the reader. I loved the interaction with the man, his dog and the neighbors along the street.
Also, it’s easy to visualize the setting by your descriptions of each area as you went along.
You really should write more.
Congrats on an amazing job!!
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Post by Maryannwrites-15 »

Lovely story, Scott. I, too, see the Autumn leaves dancing. And you got your message across so well. Kudos!!
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Post by Helene5 »

You certainly got my attention. A rough and tumble gardener and bushwalker, I love your story. It says something about forgiveness too.
Best wishes,
Helene Smith
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