Monday, February 11, 2019


It was one of those nightmares from which you wake with the sense of utter and indescribable relief that in "reality" what you imagined in your sleep to be unquestionably "real" was in fact "only a dream." I dreamt that Jake, our dog, was stolen.

It started with a walk at the beach, on the rocks, among the tidepools, with a confusing crowd of other walkers--men, women and children, none of whom we knew, in a "group" to which we have never belonged. Jake was having a great time, prancing around everywhere, making friends with strangers as he often does. But in a while we noticed that he wasn't there. We looked everywhere, but failed to find him.

By this time, the group had separated, everyone going their different ways. We walked home without Jake, supposing at first that he had gotten lost, but soon concluding that he had been stolen. Some had just walked off with him when we weren't looking.

Back at our house--which was not our cottage, but a sharp-edged modern structure with white walls and stairways with railings--we wondered what to do. Interesting, that Ellie (who would have been much more distraught) seemed much less concerned than I was myself. She went off to the kitchen to do some cooking.

I meanwhile, recalling that his tag had our Los Angeles telephone number, not our beach number, was anxious to check our home phone to see if anyone might have found Jake and left a message for us. But the telephone in this modern house was a strange, upright affair, like a big office phone with dozens of lines, and I had no idea how to use it. There was an instruction manual nearby, however, and I tried to follow the instructions--which involved entering the phone numbers on the paper sheet itself, rather than on the phone, and I was having difficulty reading and tapping out the numbers at the same time.

Frustrated, I decided to walk down to the police station to make a report and see if anyone had reported finding a dog. Once there, I entered a front office that was crowded with police officers and others, all dressed ridiculously in comic opera costumes. Managing, finally, to attract the attention of an officer, I was told rather rudely to go to Lost and Found. There would be, he told me, a long wait.

Indeed there was. Lost and Found was at the end of a corridor, with literally dozens of people standing patiently in a Kafka-esque line, with no apparent hope of ever reaching the end of it. By now, Ellie had joined me--though I had no idea how she could have known where I was--and we decided to go home.

On the way up the long hill we encountered someone with two dogs, and my heart leapt with the hope that one of them, a King Charles Spaniel, might be Jake. But no. This was not a Bleinheim (brown and white) like Jake, it was a Ruby (all brown). Another terrible disappointment!

No matter, we walked on up the hill. Back at the house, it now appeared we had invited a number of people to join us for dinner. Ellie went back to the kitchen while I found a bottle of red wine to open.

Dinner started with a bustle, with everyone filling their own plate and settling down at the table. My neighbor--whom I thought I knew but could not identify--returned with his plate, but seemed disinterested in a glass of wine. As did everyone else. Rather than waste it, I decided to re-cork it and set it aside for another time, and asked Ellie to find the cork. But neither one of us could find it. So the bottle remained uncorked...

Which is when I woke, in broad daylight (very late for me) and realized in a flash that Jake had not been stolen at all but was still sleeping happily in his crate. I was never happier to put on his leash and take him out for his morning pee and poop walk.

The moral? Perhaps it's the good old Buddhist teaching that all things are impermanent. No way to put the cork back in the bottle. Avoid attachment. "This is not mine." Nothing, nothing is "mine," no matter how much I may attach to it. Everything, literally everything--even Jake!--can be taken from you in an instant. Not an easy lesson, but no less true for being unpalatable.

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