Day 116: The Best Day

by Claire Adams Williams,

Today was the best day.

It wasn’t really the best day. Instead, it was kind of a hard day. Which isn’t that interesting, because we all have these days, when things are going on in life that aren’t ideal and we feel kinda sad about them. But on this trip, when we have them, Lara and I like to use a phrase of our friend Mari’s, and we look at each other and say: “But you can’t have a bad day – because you’re living THE DREAM!”

So, because of the best day (smiling even when you feel sad helps you to feel happier – in the same way perhaps calling a bad day the best day does), I knew I couldn’t miss out on a Goan beach run. Because it turns out I kinda love running, actually, and might even do it indefinitely. So here is what happened on my run that made the best day actually, truly, one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time.

I was running, and I came across all these ferocious looking probably rabid feral dogs. And I got kind of scared, but then told myself that there were really only three, that they even looked mildly playful, and that I could run into the ocean and out-swim them with my large arm muscles if they tried to viciously attack me. So I kept running. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is, because I used to be terrified of dogs. In the past couple years, though, several specific non-crap dogs, Holly’s Bo and Sammy Sperber and Zoey, have been really influential in helping me transform my feeling about dogs. And I have decided, shockingly, that I actually (gasp) kind of like dogs, and actually (quadruple gasp) think I want to get one one day.

So after I safely passed the dogs, and there were no casualties, I realized all of a sudden that there was this little dog thing running behind me. And I did get scared, because it kinda looked like he was trying to bite the back of my calf muscle, but I breathed deeply and all and kept running. And he just hung in there. And then I started thinking he was a pretty tight dog. So the dog and I ran up and down the beach together, and it was really weirdly wonderful.

What was also great is that, since the dog was perhaps eating too much Indian fruit, it was having digestive issues so it had to stop a lot, and it gave me a nice little respite from the activity. At some points, especially after he would use the bathroom, I started to worry that the dog was getting worn out, because he was so far behind just sitting there, and so I would clap my hands and say encouraging things like, “Come on now Buddy!” And then he would come running like a crazy man really fast, and I realized that he wasn’t really tired at all, he just thought I was slow and so was giving me a head start so it didn’t get boring for him. (Kind of like skiing with parents or boyfriends, I thought).

At some point, I started to feel really, really warm feelings for the dog I couldn’t control, and I remembered that on 1950s television shows and Disney Family movies sometimes people throw sticks and dogs catch them. So I went and found some dead tree near the beach and got a stick which I thought looked about right. And then we started playing this game, “fetch”, which was perhaps the most out of body experience I’ve ever had. For the record, he wasn’t that good at it (because I don’t think he gets a lot of attention) and so he never managed to actually bring the stick back, and instead would just sit there with it in his mouth waiting for me to come get it. And so we moved down the beach like that, and I kept thinking how it was one of the weirdest days of my life. Eventually it did get semi-boring, being that fetch isn’t that intellectually stimulating and all.

At or about that moment of boredom, however, because it is Southern India in August, it started monsooning. The rain got really, really, really hard and it was kind of hurting my eyelids and I couldn’t see much more than fifteen feet around me. But I didn’t want to go in, because it was very cleansing and all and I needed that, and so I stood there on the beach feeling the rain. And then I looked down and realized that the dog was huddled up against me to protect himself from the rain, and it felt like I was helping the dog by just being there, and that he needed me, and I felt so great and lucky and all. And it made me think deeply of what Jennifer Aniston had told Oprah (remember when I watched Oprah last week?) about when one day when she was sad and doing yoga she just had this crazy flash and thought: “Everything’s going to be just fine. Because I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

After about fifteen minutes of just standing there, looking at the dog hiding behind my legs and being in the rain and thinking deeply, it started to let up when the sky filled with insane white light. It felt like the apocalypse, in a really, really good way, and it was pretty amazing. I kept looking for a rainbow, but there wasn’t one, but I think if you think there is a rainbow, even if you can’t see it, it’s the same thing. And then the rain stopped, and the sand was completely clean and our footprints were all gone, and it was like the beach was being born.

And even though my run was over, the dog and I did this really weird thing and we started running some just for fun. And it made me remember why I have decided that I like dogs and will get one one day. And here is why: they are happy little guys, they make you exercise and go outside, and they just radiate love. And they have healing powers, according to the show, Animalterapia (Animal Therapy) that I used to watch when I was living in Mexico.

When I came back from the run, I said to Lara, “I ran with a dog!” And she said, “But you hate dogs. Or you used to, at least.” And then I said triumphantly, “I know!”

And then I told her the whole story of what had happened, with the fetch and the dog and the warm feelings and all, and I even said provocatively that Jesus might have been coming down when the light got all weird. To which she said, without looking up from her work, “I’m sure it was Him, Claire,” which was kind of a sarcastic comment because it’s unclear what Lara thinks about Jesus.

When my nice and attentive agent sells my travel book, All Roads Lead to Einbahn, to a publisher (because, really, who wouldn’t want to buy such a marvelous thing?), there is a whole chapter about aMiNals in that you can read about. It has symbolic stories like this in it, but not this one in particular, because this just happened today, as I told you.


FarmerM said...

Either I have been reading this blog for too long OR you are a really great writer. This was a really really sweet bit -- I miss my dog!!!!

I hope you sell 10 million copies of your book.

SavvySunshine said...

Very happy that you have come around to the dog-loving side of the world. I, too, used to be a dog not-lover, but, have you seen my kids on my Myspace page? How can you not love puppies with those two? You just haven't found the right dog - well, according to this post, you may just have, in a weird sort of way. Anyway, good job and great post!


Jonathan said...

hooray for awesome dogs! hooray for running for fun! hooray for cleansing downpours! hooray for radiant brilliance!

Mari said...

I am glad we cleared that stuff up about bad days and living the dream and all. I like this post. As a revision to my former statement, the dream should include dogs too.

SavvySunshine said...

Woot! My template is so cool that Claire and Lara want it! Go what's-her-name from Pannasmontata (I'm assuming it's a girl, here.). Y'all can absolutely use it. Like I said before, though, I think you are going to have to change some of your picture sizes to fit the three column format (that's why the columns get all messed up.).

Yup, the map was already part of the template. You can see the detail of the template if you click on it at the website. That's one of the reason's I picked it (y'know, if I'm not gonna' travel, at least my blog can...).

Good luck with the setup. If y'all need any help, let me know (because I so totally know what I'm talking about... Now, if you believe that, I've got some land to sell you. It's in this place called the moon. OK, totally random. I'll stop now.)

Smiles, Sunshine

Lana said...

at first i looked at this blog and i sighed and thought "clara, this blog looks too long" but then i started reading it and then when i was done i was like WOW this wasnt long at all it was GREAT! it was SO GREAT! and funny and mostly kind of, i dont know, inspirational? i guess. or like, ethereal? is that a word. it was mad spiritual girlfriend. snaps to claire! mia loves you!

zirelda said...

You are absolutely hilarious.

Good luck on your journey and enjoy the animals.

LaKisha said...

Isn't nice to have a running buddy? I've been day-dreaming of running with a dog. (I know that I am too old for day-dreaming, but it is sort of a habit I developed around age 4.) I really enjoy your posts and agree with the comments-- this was fun to read. Enjoy your trip,

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