Caledonia is teaching me how to be. How to show love; how to love life. She loves people exuberantly, without reservation; she lives spontaneously, without regrets. And people love her right back, the same way.
She is always ready to drop everything to be with me, regardless of when, where, why or how. She understands that life is complicated and so she waits patiently, without complaint, until I have time for her. I need the simplicity of her world to remind me of the importance of right here, right now.
She loves me equally whether my heart is full of giggles or growls, when I’m taking or giving, even when I look grungy or smell bad. She just wants to be with me. I pat the sofa and she climbs up and settles right in – OK girlfriend, let’s hang out.
I catch her watching me endlessly…what is she thinking? She stares like she is reading – memorizing - the skin of my face, the freckles on my nose, the lines of my eyes; her wide chocolate eyes look concerned, totally involved, depthless. Like she’s dragging me into her soul. She looks right into my heart with those guileless eyes, like she knows more of me than I do. Sometimes she looks sad, like she knows something I don’t. Like she knows what lies ahead for me.
Or maybe she just wants my popcorn. After all, she is a golden retriever.
I want to be a friend like her, not because I want people to love me like everyone loves her, but because I want them to know how it feels to be loved unconditionally. Because I want them to know they can be themselves around me without worrying about acceptance. They can be happy or grungy, makes no difference.
That’s the kind of friend I want to be.