November 30, 2012

The Taste of Light

This morning I opened my eyes and was puzzled. “What time is it?” I asked the darkness. There was no answer so I figured morning was still asleep. The humans were too.




I rolled over, stretched out my paws and sighed.

I miss the light. I miss it so much that I told Gretchen we should go search for it. She smiled, put on her rain boots, rain pants, rain coat, and rain hat and said, “A hunting we shall go.”

The problem is, there’s not much light to track down. The sun, if it decides to turn up, never shows up until around 8 in the morning, well past the time we rise from bed. And if we aren’t quick about it, the sun disappears around 4:30 in the afternoon. Of course, with all the rain we’ve been having, it’s not so much sun we see as a lighter gray in the skies.

Still, I was game to find some of that light be it the yellow of the sun or the white-gray of lessening rain, though I was skeptical that we’d find any. So out the door we headed each and every day to search for something I didn’t think we’d find. In fact, I wasn’t exactly sure if I’d know it when I saw it.

But what I realized is that “light” isn’t just about seeing. Nope, when you live in the Pacific Northwest, you have to use all your senses to experience light.


Sometimes, when I’m napping on the couch or the floor or one of my many lovely dog beds, the sun will make an appearance. I get a bit frustrated that it shows up when I’m sleeping because often I’m so deep in my slumber that I miss it. Still, I can feel it on my body and I know that even though I’m not consciously aware of it, my body is registering the warmth and each ray of splendor tickling my curls with light.

Dezi, while returning home on Thursday of this week, spent some of the week with me soaking up this feeling as shifting light moved over us during our rest. “Sweet,” Dezi commented one day and I had to agree. The feel of light on a gray day is like a smile spreading over my whole body. I reach out to touch the light as much as the light reaches out to touch me.


The eyes are important when it comes to light, but what we see when the clouds move just enough to reveal brightness it is not just seen with the eyes. The horizon of light opens my eyes deep within me to reveal the snowy mountains on the horizon or the ripples on the gray-blue winter lake. I feel myself open, like my whole body is an iris letting in the light to my bones and belly.


Everyone will tell you that a dog’s greatest sense is his sense of smell. Yes, we walk with our noses to the wind and follow them without really thinking about it. We read the world through scent and the multitude of information we obtain can tell us the difference between squirrel and cat, friend or foe.

But did you know that light has a scent? Of course, while my sense of smell is keen, often my ability to describe it is lost in my inability to find the right words. I’ll give it a try. Light smells of memory, a calming scent with shape but no weight. You can’t hold the scent in your paws — it ethereally passes through your body like a spider’s web. When light moves over me or I walk through it, I feel expanded from the inside out, like a part of my is opening up, reaching out without any conscious effort. I get bigger when I smell light and all my bones and joints fall into alignment.


Yes, light makes a sound. It is the sound of a breath — singular and in multiples. It is the sound of an owl at dawn hooting her song before she slumbers. It is the sound of gentle waves on the shore pulling in and pulling out, rocks and sand dancing. It’s the sound of laughter, of leaves rustling in the wind, of a sigh or a whisper or someone opening a fresh new crackling bag of treats!

Light has an echo and the sound waves tickle my ears even when everything around me looks gray and lacking. My head will be down as we walk through the rain and the sound of light will announce itself quietly at first, imperceptible like a fog horn in the distance. But if I’m vigilant, if I pay close attention the sound will rise up over the horizon and all my senses will awaken to the light.


This week I’ve learned that light has a taste. Somewhere in my mind I must have known it, but this week for some reason, the taste of light came into my full consciousness. Honey and oranges…the tickle of sour and sweet on my tongue. Once I learned how good light tasted, I opened my mouth and stuck out my tongue every chance I got.

Of course, with all the rain, there weren’t as many chances as I’d hoped for, but still, whenever possible I bit at the wind, licked at the raindrops, and smacked my lips when the light snuck through the clouds or dribbled through  the few leaves still on the trees. When the light caressed my shoulders, I savored the flavor and let the bouquet of spice-light fill my mouth.

Oh the taste of light is better than ice cream on a hot day, better than chicken necks crunchy between my ferocious teeth, better than chicken livers and beef sticks. It is the taste of hope, the taste of laughter, the taste of friendship and of an afternoon nap on the couch with my family and running through the woods and swimming in a mountain lake. The taste of wagging tails and sleeping on the human bed.

I fell in love with the taste of light this week and as the weekend approaches, I find myself wanting to venture out — even in the rain — to let any amount of light I might find tickle my taste buds.

On December 21 the waning of the light shifts. More light each day. I’m counting down to those days, but in the meantime, I’m lapping up as much light as I can with my whole body.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to go outside and taste the light!






One Reply to “November 30, 2012”

  1. Maybe, just because of your great essay on light, we have a sunrise this morning, and incredible orange colors on clouds. And blue! There’s blue up there! Makes me want to dance. Absence makes the whole body grow fonder, I think.

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