Nirvana hides in a cardboard box.

 “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

Louis L’Amour

Recently, I joined a wonderful writer’s group and as part of my profile, I had to put down where I’m located. My husband, looking over my shoulder and gifted at quick quips, and taking advantage of aol allowing us to be online at the same time, sent me an email (which was much more romantic when we lived on opposite ends of the country).

Hey Em – put down, “If there’s dog poop, horse manure, kibbles and hay, I’m there.”

Very funny, especially because it’s true: if there are horses or dogs in need I’m there, and yes, cleaning up and feeding is part of it. Presently, our kitchen is overrun by yet another puppy play-pen, and another dog in need; this one healing from a fight with a coyote, having dug out of her kennel in record speed and running off even faster. In the desert, (which is more like a zoo), the clash between domesticated and wild almost always results in some sort of trouble.

Where we live, which is rural ranch and horse country, people push dogs out of moving vehicles with the hope that someone in the community will take in the dog. “How do they know you so well?” my husband asks, rolling his eyes and sighing. I can’t blame him — the man’s a saint. Not only is he the world’s best supporter of my writing endeavors, he also understands my penchant for the underdog, including the two now in my kitchen.

It never ceases to amaze me just how grateful an abused horse or dog is for food and attention. Their capacity for forgiveness is difficult to comprehend, and especially so when considering the fact that they’re better at it than most human beings.

This hot afternoon, two stray dogs believe I am the star of their air-conditioned universe, each having been given an empty box — one a Ritz cracker box, and the other a box of Reese’s Puffs. In their eyes, happiness is free and easy; the best times are had with boxes, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, and Dixie cups — due to the wonderful sound they make hitting a tile floor, and because of the way they crunch — while fitting perfectly in a medium-sized dog’s mouth. Each paper object is sturdy enough to be thrown in the air and caught many times, and the future can always be counted on for more.

I work hard to be a grateful person in this twisty-turny, nothing-for-certain life; I am grateful for so many things. But Nirvana is made out of cardboard, today, and I’m humbled by the saying these two dogs know so well: one man’s garbage is another dog’s treasure. As the dogs mimic each other, taking my fearless arm into their gentle mouths, who knew it would be so easy to find Nirvana in the kitchen, next to the apple sauce and flour?


2 Responses

  1. Two good metaphors here. The desert is a zoo. Reminds we northerners and city dwellers how alive the desert must be. I know what you mean about dogs (cats too) and random playthings. Have you read Mark Levin’s book about his rescue of a dog who he names Sprite? Diane read it and found it moving. I’m glad you are blogging regularly now your first edit is finished. I get to know what’s going on.

  2. I’ll give the book a read — thanks! : )

    You mean now that my gazillionth edit is finished, lol. It’s interesting how, when the writing is finally where it needs to be, you just know.


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