To The Sun:

Recently, I was on a self-absorbed power-walk near Parsons High School. While pausing to tighten a shoe string, I received a day-brightening greeting from a complete stranger. One actually acknowledged my existence, even made eye contact. 

Yes, while appearing to show up out of nowhere, and living life after the loss of a leg, this stranger took the time and effort to extend a warm greeting to another creature. You know what I mean, that unique and friendly body-language that a handsome male dog, with black and white hair, a reddish collar and missing a right front leg, uses when wishing to warmly engage with humans.

Thereafter, without a word exchanged, this stranger chose to accompany me for a couple of city blocks or so. He cheerfully walked, ran and romped with energy, balance, coordination, confidence and joyfulness that many of his peers having the benefit of all four legs likely envied.

For a special moment my attention seemed to depart from my self-absorbed self, as I instead focused on this cheerful three-legged canine. I wondered what traumatic experience had taken one of his precious front limbs, and thought about the painful, fearful and challenging recovery process he had to have likewise dealt with. I questioned whether I would be able to endure similar tragedy and keep a positive and confident attitude. The answer I kept coming up with was likely not.

As this cheerful stranger departed my presence, I hoped that his well-kept appearance indicated that his home was nearby and he would soon safely return there.

It seems noteworthy that for the most part cats appear to tolerate us. Dogs are blessed (possibly burdened) with the capacity for unconditional affection for humans, and in some cases even for the most undeserving among us. And, our human capacity for tolerance and unconditional affection for one another, and for other life forms on Earth, that seems to be a work in process with considerable room for improvement.

But now, back to my self-absorbed self and real or imagined challenges and my sense of terminal uniqueness likely shared by countless others. — WILLIAM JAMES MOORE, Parsons

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