Take Time to Smell the Flowers

First thing this morning, I took the dog out for his morning constitutional. This is no ordinary dog. It is our new dog, our puppy, Frank. Before heading out to the yard, he stopped to smell the fresh flowers in the large pot on the top step of the porch. He was like, “Hey, are these new, I don’t remember seeing these before.” They were new and they were chrysanthemums, so I don’t think they smell like much, but maybe to a dog, who knows?

At the time, I gave Frank’s stop only a fleeting thought. Fresh flowers aren’t unusual at our house. My awesome wife likes to make sure our porches are adorned with pretty, seasonal flowers. Frank’s smelling the flowers helped me to realize how much I’ve underappreciated the flowers on our porch and how I should stop griping about their cost and the need to replace them when they die (this statement will come back to haunt me). They are appealing and dress up the house, but that isn’t what this blog is about.   

As the day went on, the image of Frank’s quick little sniff was etched in my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about that sight. Do dogs always live in the moment, I asked myself. As soon as I became conscious of my question, I made up my mind to live the entire day “in the moment.” I tried to be more conscious of what I was doing and experiencing at all times. 

During my commute, a historical biography of Thomas Jefferson played from my iPhone. I juggled my keen attention between the audiobook, my driving tasks and the traffic around me. Walking into my office building, I noticed the reflection of a young man a few steps behind me. I slowed down so I could hold the door for him and engage him in conversation. Later, at lunch, I savored my food bite for bite while engaging in conversation with a friend who is a college professor. I found new energy when talking about self-insurance and budgetary funding at my work. I cleared every single e-mail received at work (might be a first). Consciousness stayed with me throughout the day and I found it to be a new and unusual feeling. There were no long gaps where I didn’t know what happened, or how I got there. I saw things I knew were there, but with much better clarity. There was less social media and mindless wandering.

I’m not being cliché when I say, “Take Time to Smell the Flowers.” Our dogs have something on us. They do things with much more intention. They love unconditionally. They take time to smell the flowers and many other things. It appears to me that dogs are either totally conscious, or are asleep. What do you think? Are you conscious? Maybe I’ll come back as a dog.