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Monday, May 6,2013

Dog Days of Summer

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

As I gently guided the hour-hand around the large clock in my living room, literally removing an hour from my life, it struck in a more visceral way than it usually does. Maybe it was because the clock whose hand (more like arm) I was moving was so gigantic that the act of fastforwarding through an hour of my morning seemed larger than life, but in the act of being a mechanism of time, I really was tuned into what I was doing. I went into the usual rote dialogue in my head that tells me to regret that I am losing an hour of sleep, an hour to run an errand, an hour to do whatever, when my little dog gave me one of those adorable sideways head tilts that wonders, whatchya doin’? So I explained to her (in that syrupy sweet voice that such a head tilt always elicits) that “we” were losing an hour, and our whole day was going to be shorter now. And then it occurred to me, no one should be more exited for Daylight Savings time than my dog. I had forgotten that we have a tradition during the extra hours of sunlight after dinner. We go for an extra walk every day! Suddenly my perspective shifted. We weren’t losing an hour, we were gaining seven! Let me explain.

My dog, like all dogs, loves her walks like nobody’s business. We cover the same ground day after day and she approaches each flower, each blade of grass, each tree with such curiosity and excitement, as if she’s never been down that road before. Then, of course, she pees on them, which always cracks me up. This flower smells so good.. sniff, sniff, sniff.. I know just the thing to make it perfect... Short of leaving my mark on everything we pass, my little dog has inspired me to also appreciate all of the little things along the way. The squirrels in the trees, the ducks bathing in the lake, the way the palms move in the breeze. Now we were going to get to do that one extra time every day, and even I was excited. Not so much to ponder the little things for the third time in a day, but because I get the added bonus of spending quality time with my husband and sometimes, if I’m lucky, even my son. The after dinner walk is a special one. We go all the way to the park and walk the trail for about an hour each night. It is like putting the pause button on life and savoring a nice chunk of now. When it’s dark outside, 7-8 pm is merely Clean the Kitchen and Watch Jeopardy Hour or Go Through the Junk Mail Hour. But the dishes and the mail don’t go anywhere, and the TV can be recorded, so our walks literally become an extra hour in the day that we spend together talking and sharing things that would normally be shelved for the weekend... when we have “time.” And likely by Friday most of the little nuances of daily life would seem insignificant, so they would be forgotten. So, while I normally join the complainers when it comes to setting the clocks ahead, (as if Monday doesn’t come soon enough!), this year I was already appreciating the extra seven hours a week that I would be gaining. I felt very grateful.

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