Philosopher Dog: I Found Myself Astray

In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself astray in a dark wood
where the straight road had been lost sight of.

– Dante, translated by Seamus Heaney

Was it in a tunnel in the North Woods that I found myself astray?

Where am I? Where am I going?

Sometimes I stop what I’m doing, and think.

Then I grow pensive among the asters.

I ruminate by ancient roots.

I reflect by still waters.

Does beauty change the meaning of a gate?

I believe nobility takes many forms.

I know beauty does. Sometimes it flames out, like ‘shining from shook foil.’

And sometimes there’s beauty in the gutter.

Or in an old tree stump.

But what is beauty?

Is there beauty in death?

I wonder, am I a dog dreaming he is a philosopher, or a philosopher dreaming he is a dog?

I can’t always tell reflection from reality.

 It’s time to get moving again. But where to?  I’ll choose a direction, and start walking.

I’ll go this way. Why not?

for RSH

Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, In the City, November, NYC Parks

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23 Comments on “Philosopher Dog: I Found Myself Astray”

  1. Daniel Says:

    What a great photo essay! Great pictures paired with fantastic writing. Esau is one lucky dog.


  2. […] wondered if it were ill or injured, and Esau sat down to ponder that question or […]


  3. Nice photo essay! I write a blog about nature in New York City too. You commented on it a while ago. I am just getting to the point of exchanging links with other blogs. Would you like to? Just let me know :). Best regards, Julie

  4. theRealSasha Says:

    Very philosophical walk there

  5. Barbara Says:

    Simply beautiful – all of it – every photo, every line of prose/poetry. A keeper!


  6. That post was just too cool. It made me think and I loved it.

  7. CGJ Says:

    A beauty photo essay. Very nice.

  8. John Says:

    Love Hopkins too! : )..

  9. Laurel Overmyer Says:

    That Esau is quite the dog! And so photogenic, too! Beautiful!

  10. Charlotte Says:

    Really love these meditative wanderings. Are you a dog dreaming you’re a human, or is that you inside your dog?

  11. Karol Omlor Says:

    This reflection of Esau’s touched my soul. My sweet poodle Ruby did too.


  12. Great post—writing as well as photos!

  13. mthew Says:

    “Dog” is Virgil spelled backwards.


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