A different path

Thursday August 5, 2021

I’m a seaside person. I love swimming in the Irish sea, no matter how cold it may feel. I love walking in my bare feet on the sand. And I love trotting over the stones as the waves come crashing in. But I also like to shake it up! I enjoy walking by our local river; the calm, the trees, the birdsong, the gentle flow of the water. And there’s a gorgeous park near my kids’ school where I’ve been taking the dog for walks each morning post-school-drop, pre-working-from-home.

The park is busy with kids and parents, cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, power walkers and the odd couple chatting. (One elderly couple I see are outrageously cute, walking and holding hands).

One morning last week, the dog ran to a tree and went sniffing around as per usual. I paused and looked up. The sky was blue, only one white cloud that looked a little like a giraffe - if I squinted. I heard a beautiful bird song. What bird was that? I never seem to guess which bird is which. Isn’t there an app? Hmmm I must look it up. I glanced over at the mutt and he was happily rolling in the ground beside the tree. He was literally in his element. His element being another animal’s poop!  Noooooo! I ran over but I was too late. He had smeared foul fox poop all over his furry body. Grosse!

I carried the manky mutt out of the park and into the car. I tried to scrub him with a towel and water but I actually made it worse. I drove home with all the windows open.

I filled the bath and lobbed in half a bottle of my son’s ‘Dove for men’ body wash.
‘You’re a right eejit,’ I told him.
‘This was not the way my morning was supposed to go,’ I told him. 

His face. So sorry for himself. I couldn’t stay cross for long. After the bath, he ran around the house like a crazy creature, as he always does, to get dry.

Next morning, we passed the same tree and guess what? He ran to the exact same spot and began to roll all over again. I legged it after him and snapped on the lead. Naive as this sounds, I honestly wasn’t expecting him to repeat his behaviour.

When I related the story to my son, he said: ‘But mum, it’s hard for humans to learn from our mistakes. He is just a dog.’

And that got me thinking. 
Have I learnt from my (many) mistakes? 
Do I keep repeating the same ones? 
Do we humans get comfortable with our mistakes because they’re so familiar? 
Do we go down the same path but expect different results? 
Is it even harder to take an unknown path when you struggle with your mental health? 

The next morning, myself and the mutt had a walk in the same park. But we did indeed take a different path. No fox poo. Lovely walk. Far more relaxing…

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

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