That New Puppy Smell
I got a puppy for my birthday, which meant that at 00:30 on my born day I was cleaning up one poop, sniffing out another and praying that the baking soda would remove the stain from a third. More than another mouth to feed, a new dog is really another anus.
Love is shit.
When a child is born one of the first things they do is poo. Meconium, effectively a chocolate fountain of both terror and relief for a new parent. It means they’re healthy. It means you also have to clean up. Thus begins a lifetime of cleaning up.
Your movements are your movement through this life. In many ways they are all we really give back, until our bodies return to the Earth. I remember cleaning our old dog’s last movement, when he couldn’t move, just before he died. I remember my hand on his heart as his second eyelid closed. My old friend. I had cleaned up after him and he had cared for me, now he lies buried under the red flower tree.
Eating and pooing, as long as you keep that cycle going you’re alive. When it stops, you’re dead. Life is love, love is life. Life is food, life is shit. Love is shit.
We want these things to live so we feed and clean up after them. Every day. Their life is precious and this repulsive task is an act of love, though it doesn’t feel like it. But life is precious, its ins and outs, its maintenence, its presence. We are only here in these bodies, and this is what bodies do.
Lilly is just a little Beagle. I don’t love her like I loved old Mercutio, but he was my Beowulf — the one mythical dog that is the benchmark for all others. I care for her, I clean up after her, and it is these rituals that create love, with time.
The laying of flowers at the Buddha’s feet, watching them rot, clearing them away. The cycle of impermanence, attachment and revulsion, again and again.
That’s not what I think of when I’m cleaning up dog shit — I’m thinking ‘why this shit!??’ — but it’s there. In essence this is me turning the wheel of another, cleaning and spinning it, until it turns on its own.