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Travels With Maggie: The World Beneath Our Feet/Paws

Updated on April 3, 2019

So Very Obvious

It was there all along but I hadn’t seen it.

How many times has that been the case in my lifetime?

Maggie, of course, was the first to notice it . . . or rather, notice them!

Ground spiders . . . I don’t know the scientific name for them . . . thousands of little black spiders racing across the open field, the same field Maggie and I have walked across daily for two years . . . and yet I had never seen them before.

That was a week ago. Now I see them every single day but before . . . not a sighting although I’m sure they were there all along. It’s not like some alien species suddenly dropped down from space in the form of a relatively defensive spider; no, they were always there but I simply had not seen them. In truth it’s hard to miss them if you’re actually looking for them. It’s as though the field has movement on a windless day, waves of black skittering over rocks and through grass stems. The reality of that field was there all along and yet I had been blind to it all.

I had seen the subtle color schemes in green, five, six, seven different greens, Nature dazzling all with her intricate mixtures and hues. I had seen the clouds overhead, soldiers marching, ballerinas dancing, animal shapes and faces, gently riding the jet stream to distant ports beyond my sight. I had seen the chickens and goats, pigs and horses, hawks overhead, a bald eagle, deer streaking in the distance, and flashes of color in a distant field as a farmer tended to his crops, but . . .

Right beneath my feet, so obvious for anyone looking for it, I had missed it all.

Our girl Maggie May
Our girl Maggie May

My Truth Before That First Sighting

Now if you had asked me, previously, before the Great Spider Sighting, if I had enjoyed my walks, been enthralled by my walks, and found value in my walks, I would have said “affirmative” with no hesitation. If you had asked me what I had seen on those walks, the truth of those walks, the visions according to Bill, I would have told you of the hawks and eagles, shifting shades of green and bleating goats, farmers and evergreens and drifting castles in the air, but not one word about spiders.

Maggie’s description of those walks would have been quite different, for I suspect she has always seen those spiders. Her perspective is a bit different, height being a major factor, but also she has no pre-conceived notions. She has no modernizing to affect her vision, no educating on what is to be expected on a country walk, and no expectations. Maggie simply is. Maggie simply sees.

So which truth is real, and which is false?

Maggie and I look at the same exact scene, but she sees so much more than I see.

Such a strange phenomenon!

Prosecutors and cops are professionally skeptical about eye-witnesses. They are always looking for collaboration because of this very real phenomenon. What I see differs from what you see, even in the case of a robbery or shooting seen by dozens of people, and it is because my “sight” is filtered through seventy years of experience and education and pre-conceived notions. It just happened last week in Seattle, just as it happens daily around the world. There was a case of multiple shootings on a city street. Confusion reigned moments after the shootings, dozens of cop cars arrived, people running for cover, running away from the shootings. One witness said he saw a black man running away from the crime scene. Another said he saw a suspicious “Arab” walking north. In truth it was a white shooter, still on the scene, black-out drunk trying for a carjack, his motivation forever lost in ten shots of vodka. Dozens saw it all play out, and dozens saw something different.

Maggie would have seen the truth for what it was.

Checking those spiders out
Checking those spiders out

I Don’t Know What It All Means

I truly don’t. One of the popular catch-phrases in today’s world is “fake news,” and I understand the impetus behind coining that phrase, but I wonder, in a way, isn’t all news “fake” based on its source?

An internet sensation can be watched at this time on YouTube, a KOMO News program called “Seattle is Dying.” It’s a look at the drug problem in one of America’s great cities, and it is a sobering and profoundly sad show to watch. It does not paint a pretty picture of the Emerald City.

Many have commented on that documentary since it first aired. The Mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkin, was asked for her opinion, and she said the film painted a very narrow view of Seattle, and her opinion was that Seattle is a very robust and healthy city. Now I live sixty miles from Seattle, and I’ve seen many of the things that film showed, and I personally think the Mayor is delusional.

So who is correct? Why is my view of Seattle so different from the view of the Mayor of that city?

We can play this game daily with anyone we meet. Sit down and have an in-depth conversation with anyone and you will eventually see the same phenomenon: they see certain “truths” differently than you do.

So I really don’t know what it means.

I do know that during our walks, the forest is not green. It is various shades of green. I know that the sky is not blue, but at any given time several shades of blue. I know a brown chicken is not completely brown, that it also has scarlet highlights, and I know from a distance my hair looks gray and yet up close there is still brown showing.

Perhaps it all means we have to look closely for the truth. We have to be willing to set aside preconceived notions and myopic thinking and actually search for universal truths . . . absolute truths. But do they even exist? An absolute truth is defined as one which is true at all times in all places. Is that even possible? One man says “all men are equal,” while another points to a dictator-controlled country and says “no they are not.” One woman says “love is the answer,” while the victim of spousal abuse might say “love hurts.”

Who is correct? What is true?

I really don’t know.

If you really want to know the truth, ask Maggie. She’s much more reliable. Me, I struggle, just like everyone else.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

So many truths!
So many truths!

Comments

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      They are for sure, Lawrence, and yes, she would say that.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I think Maggie would say 'love is unconditional' and she'd be right.

      But then animals are that bit smarter than us Humans!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Peggy! Funny, but I never think of myself that way. I just think of a guy with a curiosity who notices things. :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Perceptions indeed are different from person to person, and also from what our pets perceive to that of what we humans see, think and feel. In many ways, our pets are more intuitive than many...or dare I say, most of us.

      These thoughts of your walk with Maggie remind me of the tales you related in various venues in your book, Resurrecting Tobias. You are a deep thinker, Bill. You make people who read your writings also take a look around them and see or think about things with more discernment.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rochelle, and may God bless you always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Genna. Yes, it is in nature that I find my peace. Always has been and I suspect it always will.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      6 weeks ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      Interesting walk you had :) interesting perspective :) God bless you Sir billy!!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Bill, I just love it when you write about nature...you are kindred spirit to the beauty it all, and with an understanding that is uncommon; that the knowing of it, observing it, brings us closer to understanding ourselves. Beautifully written! )

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Perspective might very well be a better word, William.Thank you for the insight.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you LI-Jen...hmmm indeed, my young friend. Those notions can hamper growth for sure.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sean, I have hugged Maggie for you, and I share your thoughts on truth. May peace and love always be your guiding light.

      bill

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Bill. Not to put words in your mouth, but I wonder if perspective might be a better choice that truth. Just my silly thoughts. You and Maggie kind of remind me of Eric's Father and Son series. Each learns from the other. What a wonderful way to spend life!

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      6 weeks ago

      Hey Bill, insightful article you got there. You have shared what it's like to see through Maggie's eyes too. I'm sure she learnt from you on how to write because she sees the small details like the spiders. Sean is right. Good food for thought. Preconceived notions hmm. :)

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      6 weeks ago from Greece, Almyros

      Another excellent parable, my Brother! Good food for thought! My humble opinion is that truth is what makes you a better human being, what makes you see through the eyes of Love.

      I love your Maggie. Please, give her a hug from me.

      In my Heart I touch the face of God, and so the Truth!

      Sean

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Linda! It would be fascinating for sure. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! Where would we be without our pets?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Sha, we'll figure something out.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, I'm happy to share the world with them, as long as they don't "bug" me. :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm enjoying reading about Maggie, Bill. She sounds like a lovely dog. It would be very interesting to sense our surroundings like a dog does. I think it would teach us so much.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 weeks ago from USA

      Your Maggie is adorable. I’m glad she notices the little things and helps you take the time to see a different perspective. My cats do the same for me.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Wow. Powerful stuff, Bill. All I can say is "ewwww" to the spiders. Forget about camping on the farm!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 weeks ago from Canada

      LOL, that's the way to do it. I'm the same.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, you had me laughing about the X-Files. As for laying on the grass, I was out there yesterday. I don't mind the spiders crawling over me, just as long as they stay out of my underwear. :)

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 weeks ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, This is very poetic pondering, the truth is out there somewhere (the X-files?). We filter everything through our own lenses, I guess there is no getting around that. When I'm gardening I just pretend the bugs (and spiders) are not there, but I know they're there. I wonder if your spider sightings has changed how you will appreciate your favorite activity of laying on the grass looking up at the clouds?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I will do that, Linda! Thanks for dropping by, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi....my insights might not be accurate, but you can always count on one. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, Maggie and I totally love having you walk along with us. Don't be a stranger, now. We are out there walking every afternoon and you are always welcome.

      love ya too

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB and I am in complete agreement with you...Maggie is precious!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, hopefully those bad hombres will stay out of our lives. We don't need any contact with those folks.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I find the inside of your head to be a fun place to frolic. It's never dull in there; that's for sure. :) A little fun with a serious subject. Thanks for your thoughts. You are appreciated by this old man.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that account of Chops, Ann! Thanks for sharing that.....wouldn't it be fascinating to see and sense what a dog sees and senses?

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I like what you said about the Bible, Liz. Thanks for sharing that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww thanks Pamela. I'll tell Maggie you said so. She will be pleased.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love your spin on this, Jackie...it is only love for sure.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It would be wonderful, Linda! I wonder if it is possible? Is that what senility is? :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks John! I'm amazed by how much we humans miss...right in front of us...so distracted with our thoughts, I guess.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      7 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Oh how I love when you make me think about life's puzzles. Give Maggie a hug for me & thank her for reminding us all to look beyond our bubbles.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      It's all about perspective! I love stories and movies that tell the same story from different points of view. My favorite is Faulkner's The Sound and The Fury. I didn't know what to make of it at first. But then when I figured it out, I saw its genius. Love your insights, as always!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      7 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bro.......sweet, wonderful Maggie. Leave it to our beloved 4-legged friends to wake us up. Dogs are luckier than humans. They love unconditionally without a 2nd thought, their senses are sharper than Superman's and always working overtime.

      As you know, I saw the Seattle video and I certainly know what I saw. For anyone (including the mayor) to see anything other than what it truly & sadly depicts is, as you say, "delusion." This is how we humans are. Maggie knows this too.

      Yes, bro...there is so much right under our feet/paws. We may not see it or see it in it's truest sense at first but taking a better look with fresh eyes and a clear mind....there is no excuse whatsoever to ignore or walk on by.

      I'm loving these walks with you and Maggie. Best part of my week! Love ya, Sis

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      7 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      You did outdo yourself on this one. What are you going to do for an encore? We all have our truths; some match others, and some don't. We were given free will by our creator, and as long as we live in this illusion called "life on earth," truths will differ.

      But I know one truth: Maggie is precious and beautiful and smart. Keep her safe, Bill. We want to hear more from her, my friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      So do I Bill. Who knows the exact truth about anything? Today after I fed the birds, I saw a shiny blue bird fly into a tree, I was amazed because I had never seen that bird before. My point being, maybe it was just a regular blue bird. Maybe it wasn't that shiny. I like your story. We all see differently, yet we coexist in a world with some bad hombres. Cheers..

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      7 weeks ago from Texas

      Wow, Bill, you outdid yourself with this one! So thought-provoking and so much crammed into one article. People often say I say a lot with so little with some of my poetry, but if you ask me, you just did that with this short article here.

      Personally, as I read, I was instantly taken back to some words I told someone perhaps as recently as a couple of months ago. I was involved in a kind of dispute, for lack of a better word, in which I felt mostly misunderstood and misinterpreted. I remember saying that "you will see only what you want to see" or something like that. Because it's so true that people see things very differently or miss other things entirely that others are focused on. It doesn't seem significant, but it really can be. In all counts of life. From something as simple as you and your dog noticing the creatures on the ground for the first time to things as complicated as relationships and eye witness crimes.

      You know, you should really stop reading my mind and just stay out of my head. Actually, it's not so bad. LOL. I really like the way you bring these universal truths to the forefront of my mind again through your reflections on life. You've usually got a hopeful spin on things, which is never a bad thing.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 weeks ago from SW England

      Absolutely! I know dogs are much more sensitive, more perceptive, more acute. One I encountered on holiday whilst looking round a eucalyptus farm; he was called 'Chops' and he honed in on a lady who had difficulty walking. He sat at her feet and demanded a stroke - several times, as though he was looking out for her. He wasn't bothered about anyone else, although he accepted a bit of fuss from a few of us. What did he 'feel' that we didn't see? It was much more than just noticing she couldn't walk very well, I'm sure.

      If we all looked more closely at the world around us, we would see so many more fascinating things and we would see them in much more depth.

      Thanks for the lesson, bill!

      Ann

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 weeks ago from UK

      It's all a matter of different perspectives. I like the way you get into this subject via the human and canine eye. It reminds me of something I read recently about the Gospel narratives in the Bible. One person thought they couldn't be true because they are different. Another person studied them and decided that they are all true accounts, but just viewed through different eyes.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I think we probably all struggle to some degree. Our preconceived notions and/or prejudices are going to affect our take on so many things, which is not good.

      Maggie just sees it like it is. So many things can affect our view of any given event, particularly a very stressful event. I am not surprised about the witnesses in that shooting as that is a very scary event. Your article sure makes us think about your points. By the way, Maggie is adorable.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      Well, clearly you and Maggie are on a different level. I am sure too she would enjoy hundreds of spiders more than you would!

      I am sure she would protect you from danger below as you would her from above. That is the important truth and makes you both enjoy your walks even more. We just need to trust the warnings of friends, don't we? It is only from love, surely.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Wow, Bill, there is so much packed into this one article. Where do I begin?

      My first thought (while I was still in the introduction) was that in some ways walks with Maggie might be like having a toddler. By that, I mean that (like Maggie) they have no preconceived of what should be. Everything is fresh a new.

      I love walking on the beach. It's calming but I know what to expect there (or I think that I do). Take a two-year old on that same beach and a whole new world opens up. Everything is inspected, everything is a "new story." I love that childlike (and doglike) inquisitiveness and sense of wonder. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get it back?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      This was very good Bill, and much food for thought. It is remarkable how differently people can see the same situation. I saw a show where they set up a fake crime and then asked witnesses what they saw. It was amazing how different the responses were.

      My wife and I can walk up the street and notice totally different things and people. I am sure Maggie noticed much more than you did on your walk, my dogs always had to stop and check everything. I enjoyed this.

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