Monday, December 30, 2013

We Go Round in Circles

By Linda Grupp Boutin

Lately my thoughts wandered to one of the basic differences between canines and humans. We tend to be linear creatures; we stand up straight, we lie down in a line, when we sit we form an angle. Canines conversely are quite circular in inclination. They run in circles, they like circular beds versus our rectangles, they lie down forming a circle often with nose covered by tail. And when they choose that special place to take a nap, they must turn a minimum of three circles before plopping their bodies down. Some require many more before trusting the surface to hold their weight.

So if humans are linear in nature and canines circular, what difference does it make? I want you to think about the impression another person would make on you if they chose to circle their chair three times before sitting down? You might think they were indecisive or even a bit odd. Yet every time Star chooses to turn from three to five circles before lying down I find myself smiling and sometimes laughing over her shenanigans.
Kindu dancing circles at 8 weeks old

Kindu cracks me up all the time, his circular nature brings us back to the same thing more times than I can recount. His favorite game is running fast around the dining room table. He likes this because he can keep just enough space between himself and us that he can tease us. Almost daily he runs off with a sock, paper towel, Gary's cap or a potholder and plays keep away around and around and around again, circling the dining room table. The mischief and delight shine brightly from his eyes as he makes his humans run in circles, abandoning their all-too-human straight lines.

When you watch a predator, whether canine or feline, chasing prey in the wild, you will notice that rarely does the chase go in a straight line. Whatever is being chased makes fast turns attempting to evade tooth and claw following way too close behind. Although our clocks are round, we measure time in a linear fashion as well with well-defined pasts, presents and futures. As 2013 draws to a close and a long calendar of 365 days loom ahead in another straight line for 2014, it may just be time for us to take a lesson from our canine buddies.

It's funny because Kindu's sense of time is not at all circular. He is purposeful in how he uses his time. He lives not in an hour, or minute, or second, but confines his sense of time to NOW. The past is the past for him and he gives no consideration whatsoever to the future. NOW might be a good time to take a walk, to check out what is happening in front of the house, or the perfect time for a sunbath on the patio. He never has a failure of a year or a day or even a minute, no regrets. He stays in the moment without holding a grudge about anything or planning events for the future.

As a result, he (and every other dog I've lived with) lives a contented, happy life. He never gets caught in the circular arguments about should haves or could haves. I, on the other hand, judge myself nearly daily and let it be enough said that I rarely measure up to my own standards. 

So maybe I should start turning circles when selecting my seat versus when analyzing my past, present and future. Learn to live in the moment and put a stop to the circular dissatisfaction with my life. It is no wonder Kindu and Star almost always are in good moods, after all, they do live with "straightforward" humans. Watching us go around in circles must be amusing for the dogs to watch.