Posted by sofagirl
It’s grimy, it’s knotty, it’s smelly, it’s been dragged through unmentionable substances, you definitely couldn’t take it out in polite company … but it is truly one of my favourite objects in the world.
It’s recognised in all lights, all weathers. It’s preferred above all others, yet has seen better days. It’s been shaken and chewed – but it’s always loved.
It’s Jack’s lead.
Jack is my dog. And I am sure in his world – I am his dog. At five o’clock every evening we perform a sacred ritual: I close my computer and he hurdles to the front door. I pull on my running shoes, he clanks, clanks, clanks as he leaps to grab his possession from the metal cabinet. We meet in the hallway where he shakes his prize gleefully from side to side. A tug of war ensues as I clip him in – and we are off.
Cruising the streets of our neighbourhood, one of us sniffing, pulling – showing off. The other: laughing and admonishing. I let Jack determine the route – and watch amused as he embraces the new or familiar with the same wholehearted curiosity. He leads – and I follow happily. Every nook and cranny is thoroughly investigated, every other dog mock-charged. He is never bored.
Our walk works through my worries and fears.It’s a great big exhale. It brings my familiar back into focus and allows the uncertain to recede. That orange cord , in all its manginess, is my meditation totem. My mind stills as soon as I loop it over my wrist.
Not for me chanting and buddhas. There’s no other incense but the smells of the outside. My mind doesn’t need to go anywhere but where it is right now. I’m like my dog – in the moment.
When we get home, Jack sits calmly as I unclip him. He watches as I stow his friend back in its proper place: then he turns and races up the passage. That was fun – now let’s eat.
Posted by camparigirl
When it comes to the animal kingdom, I try my best. I rescue dogs, I don’t wear fur, I pine for abused and slaughtered creatures everywhere and, at the moment, my heart bleeds at the slaughtering of thousands of elephants all over Africa, so that (mainly) well to do Chinese can show off ivory pieces in their living rooms. That is why I am ashamed to admit I own an ivory piece. It sits in my living room and it is so tiny, you have to know where to look to find it.
As a disclaimer, this little statuette of Gandhi was made when ivory had not yet been banned worldwide. Curiously, it’s one of the two objects my mother insisted I took with me when I left home, more moons ago than I can remember. Even more mysteriously, it has survived over twenty moves pretty intact, and it now sits amidst a small collection of Buddhas. Placidly, it has also survived my innate need for de-cluttering.
When I look at the skinny legs, the round glasses, the smiling expression carved on the tiny face, it’s hard not to think of the message of peace Gandhi stood for. Yet, what this unlikely object conveys to me is a childhood gone by in a house full of unlikely objects and my personal journey towards inner peace and, more challenging, the ability to live in the here and now.
And the only reason I can think of to ever part with my ivory man is if, by sending it back wherever it came from, even one elephant’s life was saved. I am sure my Gandhi would rejoice in the sacrifice.