Parallels

Youngest daughter called: “Did we want to go walk to a rock with her?”

With her doglet Umi?

Now, our Coquina is still a wild playpuppy. Umi is five-years old, and rather an Auntiedog. Over the last few months the two have gotten more comfortable with each other. Umi’s snarly, bared-teeth “Behave yourself, dammit” message is seldom needed anymore. They’re getting used to each other.

We’d been wanting to walk, but hadn’t been willing to face the day’s winds at the shore, which though warm, were strong enough to chill anyone not wearing multiple layers of garments. Daughter’s desire to venture inland was perfect.

Daughter and Umi came, and we went. The photographer gets to come, but he is ignored when he lags behind. Which he usually does. But laggardism has its rewards.

Off went we on the pine needle covered start of the trail.

Immediately, dognoses pressed to the earth. We have recently learned that an eighth of a dog’s brain is devoted to scent, and processing that information.  If you put a teaspoonful of sugar in a swimming pool, a dog can tell. Some say that dogs dream not in pictures, but in scents. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.

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Don’t they look content and comfortable with each other?

I remember my mother, who had once worked with very young children in a New York City settlement house, telling me about “parallel play”, where young children will be actively involved with something, but don’t try to influence or join in with the others’ behavior.

Umi and Coquina were quite the demonstration of parallel play.

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The humans ahead were deeply engaged with each other, and manifested their connection with some parallel behavior of their own.

As soon as they settled in to walk and talk, they fell into step with each other

Their enjoyment of each other, their compatibility and sympathy, was made manifest in their synchronized stride.

And behind them…

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The dogs were not to be outdone.

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