I run the risk of having a few too many of my blogs this year being about my dog, but the joy that we get from Frankie has been described by parents as the same that they feel for their children. Until you meet him I think it is hard to understand the level of personality and expression that he shows in his face. There are times when you can tell that he is communicating with you pretty clearly and I know that other equally nutty dog parents can relate to the fact that once you really know your dog you really can communicate in a very rudimentary kind of way.
Frankie knows how to let us know he’s hungry, would like a walk, that he’s ready for bed and when he doesn’t like what’s on T.V. Yes, he does watch T.V., but not a lot. He prefers shows that include animals, especially pet food commercials. He also likes shows that include whistling. While I haven’t tested this theory I’m pretty sure that the end credits of “The Andy Griffith Show” might be his favorite thing in the world. He doesn’t have sophisticated taste, but most television audiences don’t either.
His favorite show, really, is “Looking Out the Front Window.” It’s not on T.V., that’s what he does. He sits on his daybed and looks out the front window at all the things going on. He likes to watch the gardeners mow the lawn and trim things and he really pays attention when school lets out and the high school kids walk by with their purple highlights and skinny jeans. I was with him this morning as he was watching cars pass. Every once in a while I join him on that daybed and try to see the world the way he does. So far I don’t find it nearly as interesting, but my senses work differently what with my color vision and significantly diminished sense of smell and hearing. But today, as he was intently looking at things I couldn’t see, I got a chance to really look at his face in the sun. I started looking at the detail of how the fur grew on his face and how his skin reacted to the turns of his head and the twitch of his ears. There was a lot of action going on beneath the surface during his simple action of looking at the world. This theme carried through to class today as I worked with some of my older students about the subtleties of multiple emotions in acting, how it isn’t just “I’m happy” or “I’m sad” but “I’m happy, but conflicted and frustrated,” or something like that.
The devil may be in the details, but so is inspiration and, if you’re willing to see it, a bit of wonder. Being that close to Frankie and seeing all that work under the skin made me look at my face closely, see the reaction of my eyes to light, involuntary reactions of my eyebrows and the tracks of the forming wrinkles around my eyes. It’s all like clock pieces moving together. These aren’t new discoveries, I have memories of my teachers in school telling me to do this kind of observation but I didn’t care then or have the capacity to really appreciate it. Today I did.
Today’s picture is of Frankie’s face when he wanted to be asleep:
See you tomorrow!