Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Family and Forgiveness

Betty is aware that her recent dispatches have exclusively discussed a dog. But animals, with their severely compressed existences, may illuminate truths about life, survival, dependence, and love that we thinking man's men and women often overlook.

The first thing Cocoa has inadvertently shown me, in only two weeks, is that it is good to walk.

Bundling up and heading outdoors, watching the steam float out of the tunnels and the J train rumble over the Williamsburg Bridge, watching people walk through my neighborhood at all hours of the evening and early in the morning - for Cocoa, of course, this is all background to a mission. For me, it's life itself, everything you miss when you're "doing stuff". Having a reason to go downstairs, out doors, and into the air to look at my neighborhood reasonlessly has genuinely been good for my urban sanity. Like going to the gym, walking Cocoa is something I rarely look forward to but always enjoy. My responsibility has gone up in direct proportion to my stress levels taking a dive.

Not that there is never stress involved. This morning, Cocoa went on a barking spree that almost made a little girl cry! Co means no harm and never bites, and she does come from the shelter, but none of this excuses her actions. "No!" I snipped assertively at the little animal below me "No, Cocoa!". She didn't cool it until two floors up, when she looked at me, clearly asking for a piece of cheese with her oversized eyes and ears. I forgave her immediately, as we all tend to forgive our family when they trespass against others, ourselves last of all. And really, if everyone has someone they consider family, isn't this good for life on earth? Forgiveness may be the most underrated virtue in America today.

Stay tuned for Betty & Bimbo's Oscar round-up.

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