Monday, March 5, 2012

Cockroaches. Corgis. The Way of Things.

I walked a dog today. A corgi; a smiling, short-legged, aging dog, who doesn't understand that life will soon end for him. In Spanish, we would refer to a dog's life ending in the preterit case, because that's how you talk about the beginning and end of most anything in the world that I am currently inhabiting, 50 minutes a day, M-T-W-TH-F. 

The corgi grins, and sniffs, and blesses the earth with nutrient-rich extract from a digestive system that is wearing out. He does not care that, for him, yesterday's highlight was my brother pulling handfuls of loose hair from his back in my living room, nestled close to human beings who barricade him into a glass room at night to keep him from leaving his dead fur on the furniture. He may not even remember it. 

Today I looked at greens. There are little sprouts slowly lifting their cautious tips to seek warm sunlight all around me, if I look. The grass will wither. The flowers, just now beginning their slow ascent from barely-conceived and un-pollinated, will soon have dried out and faded. We will not remember most of them. Will we even see them? 

Notice what is around us in this crazy, mysterious world. This is a planet where ice melts and turns into rivers, which hollow out caverns far beneath the ground that the vast majority of the inhabitants of this earth will never be aware of. At the college I have attached myself to, the grounds crew has stuck small signs into the ground in the flower beds: "Shhh. Tulips are sleeping." As if a human would care about a small flower that will die unnoticed, uncared about, soon to be forgotten without ever being known. 

This is a dangerous place, where tornadoes kill without warning, where the ocean cares not about who it will swallow next. Cockroaches dissect bats, furry feet struggling furiously, wings ensnared in their own guano. No ultrasonic echolocation technology can save a bat mired in its own refuse. The cockroaches do not care. Their bellies (do these nightmarish insects have bellies) full, they return to sifting through mountains of bat-poo for less obvious prey. 

The sun rises every morning. Are you awake to see it? Do you see that the trees already have buds? Do you notice that there are ants underneath your feet that have struggled all day to find the crumb being trundled along, only to be crunched beneath your unfeeling loafer? 

Know what is around you. Don't lose sight of the order of this universe. The world may not seem to care, and the people walking by you behind their carefully manicured mask of unfeelingness may seem more like robots than humans who feel similar pain to your own, but there is an order. There is a way of things. 

There are some things that do not change. The corgi will die. He will turn into filling for cockroach belly (the cockroach's life-span much shorter than the corgi's), and his bones will lie forgotten, if they remain at all. 

I am not a corgi. I am not consigned to days that hold no significance beyond a treat or a belly-scratching, and (though a dog can sometimes seem to know exactly what I am thinking and why) my fate is secure in a Savior who fills my days with reasons to smile and rejoice in the midst of pain, in the middle of a world that can be scary and unpredictable and filled with pain. 

"I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need..."

What Spanish verb case will I use to explain eternity?


  1. Peter, this is so great. I love the movement from the self and observation to more explicit direction to the reader and back to the self. This structure is so effective. Also, the anecdote about the corgie gives something mundane deep meaning. I appreciate this. Great work, Peter

  2. Thanks Jane! Your blog posts have been a good inspiration to me to start my writing processes up again. I'm glad you appreciate the way this one happened...because it's not something I planned. This is the equivalent of a journal entry, or a tired traveler babbling incessantly, with the instinct of a writer that I cannot credit to my own merit. Lastly...CORGI. No "e." Por favor. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing, Peter. I like babble.

    You are one sensitive, mature, creative young man.


  4. this is beautiful, really and truly. keep the pen of your mind chiseling at the block of life and use it to uncover truth.