Last weekend we saw more evidence of the marvelous powers of Serena, who, in addition to being astoundingly beautiful and amazingly intelligent, has canine Tai Chi and Zen down to a “T” (bone, she could only wish, if she wasn’t the animal companion of strict vegetarians).
Just as an outdoor fire is called Kentucky TV (as we were told by real live Kentuckians), so is Serena’s view out of a living room window of our Camp Sherman cabin Dog TV. For it faces a wood platform by the fire pit, under which live a flourishing family of chipmunks. Laurel leaves almonds by the holes that lead under the platform, luring the increasingly chubby chipmunks outside to fill their cheeks.
Serena watches intently. Periodically she comes up to us and turns her head toward the door, a non-verbal plea: “Let me out. Chipmunks are calling.” When we finally succumb and open the front door, she usually doesn’t rush pell-mell to the platform. Wise Dog knows better. Instead, she goes into her Tai Chi mode.
This is one of her four Tai Chi postures, the right-rear-leg-moves-as-slowly-as-growing-grass pose. She also has variations for her other three legs. Exceedingly graceful, eyes focused intently on the chipmunk who is standing beside its hole, gnawing away on an almond, she takes minutes to move just a few feet. We stand at the kitchen window, once more awed by Our Baby.
There finally comes a moment at which Serena seems to know that she has reached the Motionless Point, the place some five feet from the chipmunk hole on the perimeter of her hoped-for prey’s Dart Zone. She moves even deeper into her canine Zen No-Mind. Absolutely at rest. One focus: chipmunk.
Something breaks the spell. Dog. Chipmunk. Hard to determine. A five-foot leap takes longer than a five-inch dart. No matter. Chop wood, carry water, stalk chipmunk. One thing at a time. Now, become one with the hole. Stillness. Zen stalking. Wait for the within to reveal itself.