Only recently I learned that my soul is a dog.
I’m thrilled because that’s what I’ve been hoping for and it explains a lot about my project of taking selfies with all the random dogs I meet out walking. This project has brought me so much joy, which is hard to explain to most people. When I followed a friend’s writing prompt, I discovered first what my soul is not. Then what my soul is and it brings comfort to my unsettled, worried, self-doubting heart.
Sitting in a downtown interior design studio with one old friend and one new, I was curious what might come out of my pen as we wrote to various prompts, between the snippets of conversation about film projects and politics. Taken from a book for writing with high school students, “My Soul Is. . .” seemed easy to begin—before we began. As the conversation settled out though, and it was time for my pen to move, I found that I couldn’t get past those first three words, ‘my soul is’. I kept writing them over and over, hoping my subconscious might kick in so that I could know, finally, the identity of my soul. Nothing.
So I began to write what my soul is not: not quiet or soft, not ethereal, not what you might think. Then it was easy:
My soul is outside running, wind against fur, panting,
and still running along the secret border the tidewater,
snuffling sea-foam and sea weed, eagerly digging
for whatever is just below the surface of the sand.
My soul is eager. It flies to the next sea treasure and
then on up the sandy hill to a better vista—the best vista.
In time it will rest, philosophically poised, a silhouette
against the sun sinking into the Pacific Ocean, blinking
slowly before curling up to rest against a bank of sand,
heated to its core by a day’s worth of golden sun.
Yes! My soul is eager, like the lovely souls of the dogs I’ve met during this past year. And I’m happy to share some of their qualities.