For most of my life, I have been lucky enough to live near the water. Salt ponds, rivers, bays, the ocean — I never cease to be amazed at the variety of landscapes possible in liquid form. There are days when the wind whips the surface into whitecaps, evenings so still the water is a mirror for the sunset. The change of seasons brings different birds and fish. Where I live now, the winter brings seals to my back yard.
One constant with any body of water is what happens when you touch it. Dip a toe, wade in, toss a stone — the water will ripple. That ripple will stir seaweed, send crabs scurrying. It’s one of the things I love most when I am on my paddleboard. I can see the impact of my movement on my surroundings: the swirl around my paddle, the gentle wake behind me. I can also so clearly feel the effect of my environment on me: the waves made by a passing boat, the wobble of my board as a fish passes underneath. I can feel my connection to everything in the world.
The ripple effect is something I tend to think of literally, given the way my life is so connected to water, but most probably think of it as a metaphor: each action we take has a ripple effect on others, often in ways we will never know.
I’ve been floundering a bit lately, having a tough time finding the meaning in some of what I’ve been through in the past year. It sometimes seems nothing in my life goes as I imagine it will. The reminders of plans gone awry are everywhere. I go for beach walks with Kimba and see The Ex and my former dog, Harry. No happily-ever-after there. I sit at my desk with the ashes of Tiny Tim, waiting for a warm spring day to release them at the dog beach. So much for my dreams of seeing him playing there with the other dogs, all-terrain wheels making up for the mobility he lost.
I’ll be honest: on bad days, I sit at my desk and look at Tiny Tim’s ashes as a symbol of all I’ve tried and failed. I wonder what the hell the point of any of it is.
And then last night I heard from Erica, one of the Guardians of Rescuewho’d helped save Tiny Tim. There was another dog the Guardians had been working to get safely from Oklahoma to Long Island, a blind Lab called Tiny. Of course, I noticed the name, and I followed his story. I was glad to learn he’d arrived safely in Long Island and was given a new name, Tulsa, in homage to the starting point of his journey.
Kasia, the woman who drove from Brooklyn to Oklahoma and back as part of Tiny/Tulsa’s rescue team volunteered to do so in part because of a blog she followed. It was a Girl on a Wire post about a dog named Tiny Tim she’d seen on the Guardians of Rescue Facebook page. It moved her to tears, and ultimately, moved her to help another dog named Tiny.
The dog I tried to rescue may have passed, but he just rescued another dog. Tulsa will find his family, and his story will inspire others. Tiny Tim won so many hearts, and he is still changing lives.
We really are all connected. And while I still may not know what the hell the point of any of it is, I’ve been reminded: there is a point. We just have to trust.
As Kimba ran on the dog beach this morning, I tossed pebbles into the water. Some dropped with a plunk, others skipped across the surface. A cormorant emerged and looked at me, perturbed. A little farther away, a seal popped its nose out of the water.