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  • Every day Lakshmi and I spend at least an hour walking. Interspersed in these strolls is always at least one ball-throwing session. Normally, Portland in December is the time of "perma-sog" when everything unpaved takes on a sponginess that lingers on the soles in the form of brown, rotten leaves and mud.

    This December, however, we've had amazing, almost spring-like weather. The tilt of the sun is the only indication of the actual time of the year. A month where, as this picture shows, you sometimes still need to find shade (wherever possible).

    Even though I trudge out every day with Lakshmi for this well-worn ritual it is the most salient period of presentness I feel during my waking hours. Sure, I've seen Lakshmi hurdle herself across the park hundreds of times now but I still find myself mindful of her grace, movement, litheness, trajectory, angle, and noteworthy speed. I still notice the light on her coat covering flexing muscles, her tongue (eventually) flapping freely from the side of her mouth (a state I call "taffy tongue"), her serious eyes locked on the ball, ready for the next throw.

    Perhaps simply being in the presence of a dog grounds me in the now. Perhaps her laser-beam concentration on the ball gives me a sense of focus. Perhaps it is simply a meditative practice of which I was unaware for some time. Whatever the reason, I've learned that this daily ritual can remind me to pay attention with all my senses, to be here now, and to appreciate where I stand... perma-sogginess or otherwise.
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