It's not like we don't take him for walks and throw things for him to chase and even tumble on the ground together. I have seen him take a trail off into the landscape on a furious adventure, returning only when my whistle became tinged less by desire and more by insistence. Because there is something about his ambition that frightens us. What if he chased some neighbor kid out there or innocently killed another creature or jumped some 'no trespassing' fence (can't read, probably wouldn't mind even if he did), or got involved in some nefarious business we knew nothing of or tried to bite a train or jumped a freighter to Taiwan and we never saw our love again? It's too frightening to contemplate.
So we keep him close, never letting him beyond our sight. The walks are never enough to satisfy him, but we do live in a practical world after all and hey none of us get everything we want. But those eyes. Those haunting, pleading eyes!
Recently it really got to me and I stood up. He beat me to it as he always does. I opened the door and he whooshed out and spun around for his partner. But I just stood in the doorframe and waved him off. "Go on. It's OK, go." He raced away and spun again, half crouching to the ground in the universal display of "well?" I was tempted but after a few steps I stopped. "No, you go. Really. You deserve it, Maj." I watched him slowly get up. He sniffed around, skimming the headlines, but always looking back. I waved him on. Sniff, look, wave, sniff, look. Finally he riveted on one and read the whole story. I had gone inside.
|The mysterious bronze-spiked gift.|
The next morning, before Matins, I let him out again and he raced, turned, received my blessing and then vanished in the darkness beyond the figure-smeared pyramid of light spilling from the door I closed. I knew that was it, and spent the day in mourning. But to our joy again that night Maj returned, this time bringing us a strange object, laying it carefully by the boots inside the door. It was a piece of driftwood, battered smooth and greyed from years abroad but impaled by an ancient, worn bronze spike, the very last word in a long and tragic tale. (We have yet to hear the story but to this day it rests, finally, on our bookshelf).
We have learned to put our fears at rest as well. Imagination is a wild creature that we do not understand, but intelligent in ways we cannot know. We have come to an understanding at last. He frightens us, yes, but he has a life of his own every bit as vital and worthy of expression as our own. We will never get the full story– only the hints that are shared– and of course he longs for our company, as we his. But his life is his own and to fully honor our deeply beloved Imagination, we must breathe deep, let go and trust in the mystery that lavishes us all with equally pure love.