I’m excited to announce my first publication in The Hopper, an ecologically minded literary magazine from Green Writers Press! Today they published my essay, “Working Resonance: Concerto for Guide Dog, Handler, and World.” Here’s how it begins:
“In darkness, the audience rises, applauding the last performance of the evening. Before I can bang my hands together with wild abandon, I slide my guide dog’s leash back over my arm, into the crook of my elbow. My companion rises from his prone position and assumes a dignified sit, scanning from left to right. He recognizes the applause as a signal for our imminent departure.
The house lights come up, and I pull on my heavy coat. In the presence of my wiggly Labrador, this maneuver requires some concentration: hold York’s leash with left hand and slide right arm into sleeve, loop leash over right arm and slide left arm into sleeve, loop leash back over left arm and fasten inside buttons, fasten outside buttons, pick up crossbody bag and slide strap over left shoulder, don’t tangle with leash. When I’m fully equipped to handle the chilly night air, I stand beside York and we wait for the crowd to thin out.
‘Beautiful dog,’ a man remarks as he pauses by my seat. One foot rests on the next step up, and he leans around a large column to stare down at my pup. York’s shiny black fur contrasts with his leather guide harness. ‘Does he like the music?’
My hand moves to York’s silky ear, a gesture of habitual comfort. ‘Actually, he prefers Romantic composers. But he said he would come hear Mozart with me.’”
3 thoughts on “Essay: “Working Resonance: Concerto for Guide Dog, Handler, and World””
Fascinating essay. I like the respect you show to working dogs and I wish the general public were better informed. Occasionally I attend an IT facilitating seminar where there are two guide dogs. As soon as they are off their leads it is so good to see how delighted they are to meet up with each other.
I spoke at a convention a few weeks ago, and there were probably 30 guide dogs there. They all insisted on greeting one another; it was adorable and wonderful. 🙂
What a lovely piece, Emily! The hope that is threaded all thruogh it makes me hopeful that someday human beings will recognize our deep connections with the wild world whether humans want to recognize it or not.
“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
― Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod