WHAT ZEN IS: HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

“Awesome, where are you going?”

“Watch me fly over the fence, Spook. I’m outta here!”

“Why?”

“Because I’m a juvenile delinquent and that’s what juvenile delinquents do, they run away from home. Beside, there are also lots of interesting smells under the dead leaves and snow, lots of little critters. One day I’ll catch me one.”

“Eve can’t be happy about this, Awesome, especially now in hunting season.”

“She and Tim are constantly trying to fix the fence so that I can’t get out. But you know my motto, Spook: Where there’s a fence there’s a hole. Beside, it’s depressing back home. Eve is glum after the Man went. She’s very quiet, doesn’t do much.”

“What do you mean, she doesn’t do much? That woman ran around like a banshee from morning till night when I was there, Awesome. Full of activity, that one.”

“Right now she’s a puddle of mud. I don’t get it, Stanley. So the Man went, what’s the big deal? Here today, gone tomorrow. Isn’t that what this Zen is all about?”

“She and the Man were not only a couple, Awesome, they worked together since 1985.”

“Give me a break, Stanley. The Man had been sick for almost 3 years, couldn’t do much, had little energy, was tired. Everybody knows his going was a treat to him and to her.”

“A treat, Awesome?”

“They call it a gift, I call it a treat. When I get a treat I’m happy, especially those beef jerkies she now has for me. What does she do when she gets a treat? Sobs her heart out, walks around like the world’s come to an end, stares out the window at nothing in particular, and sleeps at different times in the day.”

“Eve’s always had her problem with attachments, Awesome. I tried to teach her different, but she wouldn’t listen. Woman hasn’t learned to let go.”

“That’s what I mean, Spook. When you get a treat, be happy. When you get locked up indoors after they catch you outside, get sad. When you break through the fence again, be happy. When they catch you and bring you back, be sad. Life is really simple.”

“I agree with you, Awesome, and nobody does like it like we canines. When my longtime companion, Bubale the Pitbull, died, I gave her one farewell sniff and that was the end of it. Why do more? Eve fretted. Even the Man fretted, but just a little.”

“You know what Eve’s problem is? She no longer has a teacher.”

“Because the Man died, Awesome?”

“No, Spook, because you died. When you went, Stanley, her teacher disappeared.”

“Maybe you need to take on that role, Awesome. Humans have so much to learn from us.”

“I tried, Stanley. I told her she had to break out of the fence, but she said that this is her time to stay home, be in her grief and sorrow.”

“For how long, Awesome?”

“Forty-nine days, Spook. Forever!”

“That’s another thing about Eve, Awesome. She never did know how to listen to teachers. Too much in-your-face, if you know what I mean.”

“Of course I know what you mean. I tell her: The snow is waiting for us, the leafs are swirling in the wind, we have to catch them now!

“A great teaching you’re giving her, Awesome. What did she say to that?”

“She just called me a juvenile delinquent again. I’m telling you, Stanley Spook, this Zen teaching is for the birds. Nobody listens to you!”