Calhoun’s Can(n)ons The Bay News, Los Osos, CA
December 21, 2005
Solstice Nights, Sloughi Dreams
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: the essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I am sick of them, the hairy-faced men with dead eyes, bombs strapped to their bellies, murdercide on their minds and dreams of sex with 72 virgins their pathetically limited vision of Paradise. They are an insult to God.
I am sick of them, the cool-eyed liars in thousand-dollar suits, public servants who have sold their souls for $7,200 French commodes and golf trips to Scotland.
I am sick of phony “Christians” once again playing the political victim card in the annual faux Christmas Culture Wars. No reputable historian or biblical scholar believes Jesus was born on December 25th. It is a phony war over a phony date for a wholly invented phony Holy Day.
I am sick of all the silence and apathy and lack of accountability. I am sick that the West Point Honor code – A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal. And will not tolerate those who do – has apparently gone missing from the national psyche. From my Beloved Bangladesh By the Bay to Sacramento to Washington, D.C. and back again, I am sick of all the dark ugly sleaze, lies, threats, collusion, slippery back-room deals, and cover-ups perpetrated by a hackocracy of kleptocratic bunglers and arrogant cheats. It’s one long litany of cynical “Chinatowns.”
Standing at the window and watching as the winter’s dark stars wheel into view, I do not know whether the Noah Crosses of the world will continue to prevail, their dark rule made possible by a failure of courage by all those who repeatedly turn away from the hard challenge offered by a small child’s birth two thousand years ago. Or whether the Great Wheel is on the move and will once again bring disinfecting light, balance and the restoration of some measure of justice to a weary world.
Behind me, the Christmas lights gleam, the brave nutcrackers are once again on guard. My robe is warm against the early morning chill but cannot change my cold musings.
Then, The Mighty Finn’s wet greyhound snooter touches my hand. It is always a grounding reminder that despite the darkness, the world is still a place of wonder and miracles, a place where a small puppy thrown away for dead was saved by greyhound rescue angels and given a new life, a place where dog cookies can magically appear out of a ceramic jar, and squirrels can occasionally fall from trees.
“Sloughi, Sloughi, Sloughi,” I whisper into his soft ears. The enchanting hiss of the sibilants causes his tail to begin a waggish rotation. Sloughi, the whispered prayer to the Dog Gods of the Desert, that this time they will hear and will allow the awaited puppy’s soul to fly from the North African Deserts to the kennel in Iowa for a spring birth. And from there, Inshallah, a small representative of the prized hunting hounds of the Berber tribesmen will arrive in Los Osos, all wobbly knees and elbows, to join the pack.
The Basenjis will greet the leggy newcomer with rolling, exasperated eyes and exchange gleeful, evil grins, anticipating the lessons they’ll impose on the newbie, while Finn and Archie will greet the new wind runner with tails circling like great propellers. As for Poor Lady Emma, the royal whippet down on her uppers and forced to live in a house of thugs and loopy hugger-muggers, she will endure with her soft patience.
And once again a new year may begin with a new life ready to piddle on the floor, dig holes in the sandy back yard, race with a new family in the dog park, and spend a puppyhood sniffing the sweet chaparral of a California spring.
“All time spent angry is time lost being happy,” goes the old Mexican proverb. That is the Lesson of the Dogs, the Lesson of the Dark Solstice Night, with its bright stars and the promise of dawn, the Lesson of the Great Wheel, circling. It is also the vital Lesson that all days are Holy Days. And that, ultimately, is the real, eternal Lesson of the Heart.