When I lived in New York I had a sure fire way to identify a tourist. They are the ones on the street looking up in awe at all the surrounding signs and buildings. A true native New Yorker would be looking down at the sidewalk making sure they avoid stepping in the ubiquitous dog shit.
That is the thing about having a dog, your gaze tends to turn downward. I now approach the front yard like it was a mine field in Afghanistan. (Think "Hurt Locker" with a pooper scooper instead of a blast suit.)
It is the same directional observation if the dog and I are on a walk. If I am not avoiding sidewalk dog scat for the both of us, then there is the constant downward oversight of the dog herself, checking to see if she is scatting, peeing or munching on a three day old fallen French Fry.
It was a very clear day this morning. The dog rushed out the door as I went out to get the paper. Boo greeted the day with her usual enthusiasm. Remembering that my usual attention is tuned to her I looked up on purpose. The sky was a crystal blue like a Maxfield Parrish painting without a cloud in the sky. The canopy was so expansive it seemed to be bigger than a normal sky. I was taken by the sheer dept of the color. It was just that moment I saw a tiny white speck trace itself across the sky. If the timing, or direction of my site had been only slightly different I would have missed it completely. It was an airplane so high up in the sky that it was nothing more than a white dot on the crystal blue expanse. It was a virtual period on the heavenly canvas as if to complete some statement the sky was making.
There was no sound and no vapor trail, just this tiny point making its way to the Northwest. It became an epiphany. I realized that there was some person, maybe several people inside that dot so far away from me. I made a connection with them wondering what they were seeing at that moment in the perfect sky. As they looked down I am sure the plains of Encino blended into the landscape of the Valley as one tiny piece of the Earth's green carpet. I was nothing more than an invisible microbe hiding in that carpet somewhere, impossible to see from their point of view. Still I felt a connection to those travelers. In that moment I understood the emotional meaning of the Sanskrit word Namaste. Loosely translated it means "the spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you". There could be no other connection but that of the highest level of consciousness. I had nothing but the concept that another human was inside that dot. There was no other physical evidence. It was a moment of reverence and expanded consciousness and I could not take my eyes off the speck until it was finally impossible to see. That's when I stepped right into a fresh morning pile of dog shit. Obviously I am just a tourist.
As you were,