I knew about Montaigne’s Cat. Now, Murphy (the Dog) teaches me about prayer and living. Strange how these things happen. He lives entirely in the present moment; he never bears a grudge; he is capable of devoting his entire attention to a single phenomenon – a toy, a scent, a breeze, me. We go for a walk and he is light as a feather, free of earthly care. I almost shuffle along, unconsciously carrying with me the accumulated worries, regrets, anxieties of the tangled mind. Combining the walk with the Office of Evening Prayer I silently intone ‘O Lord, open thou my lips..’ but without much joy. Murphy jaunts ahead and every step betokens delight. His gait provides the response ..and our mouths shall proclaim your praise’.
“Because of the dog’s joyfulness,” says Mary Oliver “our own is increased. It is no small gift.” Many people will understand this. Quite a few won't. Nat Johnson ("singstress, maverick, fighter") certainly does if her song Dog is anything to go by - see her official video below. Murphy would agree. Below the video are pictures of his (+ our) stay in the Landmark Trust's Culloden Tower in Richmond, North Yorkshire. It was a brilliant holiday.
Murphy the Cocker Spaniel likes to take it easy but give him open space and he is off like a rocket. Here seen on his favourite Cornish beach. Or rather, above it.