by Ashleigh Wilson
September 19, 2019
Image: Adam Griffith
Not many listen though.
That's the problem...
We were standing a few houses down from my primary school where a large black dog was slamming itself into the wire fence, teeth bared, eyes glinting and manic.
Saliva dripped from his
mouth as a savage, animalistic snarl filled the air. Standing at
full height, his face was level to mine.
As more children entered the street, they followed the lead of the others, walking on the other side of the road, calling out names.
I took a deep breath and walked directly past the animal, he hurled himself against the fence, eyes boring into mine, teeth glinting, warning me to stay away.
I turned away and
continued on to the schoolyard, wild black eyes following me.
Within six months, it wagged its tail when I approached.
A year after my initial greeting, it let me pat it through the fence.
I could now see both
gentleness and hurt in his eyes.
Not once in the years that I walked past did I see any kindness shown to Barney, and without his snarling, I could now see both gentleness and hurt in his eyes, a longing to be loved and feel connection.
The same desire that filled me as a shy socially-awkward child, along with millions of other humans every day.
In silence, we would comfort each other, healing together. It was a bond without words, there was no need to explain or justify our feelings.
We knew we had each
"I just wanted
to be sure of you."
I never found out why or
what happened to him. I only hoped that he left peacefully. And I
once again found myself alone.
No matter how much I tried to shoo the bird out, it refused.
The bird didn't listen. Instead, it insisted on following me around.
Then, as I slumped against the wall, it climbed onto my shoulder and leaned in, the gentle touch of its feathers on my cheek. We sat there for a moment in each other's presence, a mutual understanding passing between us before it took flight and soared out the window in a flash of color.
I instinctively knew it was the soul of Barney, healing me one more time, honoring our friendship, saying goodbye.
He was now free. He had
found his peace and given me mine...
We are all simply sharing
this world together.
understand things I do not know,
but it is certain that they do understand.
Perhaps there is a language
which is not made of words
and everything in the world understands it.
Perhaps there is a soul hidden
in everything and it can always speak,
without even making a sound,
to another soul.
Frances Hodgson Burnett
They hold great wisdom that has been forgotten in our busy, technology-filled lives.
We are the guardians
of their lives and in return, they bring us joy, unconditional
friendship, and solace in times of need.
If I can stop
one heart from breaking,