here are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.
Aldo Leopold

07 January 2011

Two Brown Dogs

I saw it all in a moment, the conflict, the struggle, the dialectic of dominance. The goose were felled, they hit the field. Two brown dogs were dispatched to subdue and retrieve them, from two different places, from two different persons, of two different tribes. One dog, unbridled in his aggression and accustomed to encountering little resistance, menaced the other, of arguably more truculent stock but considerably more trained and of better manners, over a goose which lie dead or dying on the field. In a flash, teeth were bared and the dogs hurled themselves into each other, growling and snarling and biting and struggling. This spectacle against the snow sprinkled with blood slowed down to a slow-motion ballet and soundtrack, mildly horrifying and intriguing at once, and seemed to go on for an eternity. I felt myself become fascinated and recognized the detached viewing and floating feeling of combat of any kind. It ended, with both dogs standing over the undecided but decidedly contested goose. Neither dog retrieved the goose, or accomplished the superficial objective,but both succeeded in their ultimate calling of asserting dominance and establishing order, by either victory, defeat, or a draw. A sublime experience, and applicable by extrapolation in profound and disturbing ways. I felt the familiar shiver of feeling the ghost of Hobbes and Burke passing over me as I walked onto the plain and retrieved the goose. I crossed the gap in the hedge, and unceremoniously tossed the contested goose into the other tribe's pile.

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