ARE KOANS DOGS?

“Hey Stanley, where are you going?”

“Can’t you see that the tree fell across the path? I can’t climb that anymore.”

“You’re kidding, Stan! You can’t climb over that limb?”

“So much for sympathy. That’s what I get for hooking up with a much younger woman.”

“It’s too hot and humid, maybe we should have stayed home, Stanley, where it’s cool.”

“We have a nice, cool wind at home.”

“Humans call it air-conditioning. Did I turn it on for the Man? No. For me? No. I turned it on for you, Stan, because you were panting so much.”

“I don’t want to stay home, I’m too busy forging new trails. That’s what you do when you get old, you make new trails because you can’t use the old ones anymore.”

“I didn’t think of that, Stanley. I thought that once you lose the freedom to go anywhere you want, you just stay home.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard you say. Why stay home where I’m still free to go wherever I can go?”

“That’s the point, Stan, you’re free to go wherever you can go, but not wherever you want to go. What kind of freedom is that?”

“The best kind.”

“I always thought of freedom as doing just what you feel like doing, Stanley.”

“What I call freedom is finding my own way, and it’s different every day. Today I am free to go around the trees to get to the pools. Tomorrow I’ll be free to sit here and rest. The day after that I’ll be free not to go into the woods at all. That’s what I call freedom.”

“You know, Stanley, there are lots of koans about that.”

“Are koans dogs? They sound like dogs.”

“Maybe I’ll call my next dog Koan.”

“I don’t want to hear about your next dog.”

“You can’t hear anything anyway, Stanley. You’re not even sniffing anything.”

“I think everybody in the forest drowned.”

“You’re old, old, old, Stanley!”

“Don’t laugh too long, chickie, you’ll walk in my footsteps soon enough.”

“You know, Stanley, just north of us is the border with New Hampshire. When you drive north on 91 there’s a sign that says: Welcome to New Hampshire. Live Free or Die.”

“What are they talking about?”

“Guns, I think, Stan.”

“I ain’t never going to New Hampshire.”