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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Pat Tompkins

If One Is Seven


Every week, I take a friend’s dog for a walk. Lulu, a spaniel, is four years old. They say one year in a dog’s life is the equivalent of seven years of a human’s life. I don’t know how this formula was derived, but it suggests that one day to Lulu is as long as a week to me.

How does the dog view time? She seems to know I will show up a certain day, late afternoon, as is my habit. She seems to think we are going exploring any time I appear. I am sure of this: She is always eager to walk.

We often encounter other dog walkers, including neighbors who chat while their dogs wait for them to stop talking. Sometimes the dogs look bored. A short conversation may be an hour for them—a long time for patience.

Meanwhile, if a dog spends an extra 10 seconds exploring a sycamore’s roots, its walker rolls his eyes as though an eternity is passing. He tugs at the leash and mutters, Come on. Some things are unknown. Some don’t need to be known.

news gleaned and given
one scent at a time
the speed of clouds




crane