Songs for the Slow Lane

Fr Hugh O’Donnell

MyDogI was going to tell you about my dog but I hesitate. My dog is getting on and doesn’t go out anymore, doesn’t even bark. We’re old friends but would that matter to anyone. His eyesight is bad and his once fawn coat is now threadbare.

Just then a blast of light shines in and spots the face of the clown who watches over me. And suddenly I am looking into his lit-up face and seeing something like sadness there despite his bright, red circle of nose and elongated smile, his blue eyes, orange hair, his jump suit multi-coloured and shiny.

In boots too big for him, he stands to attention and stares intently towards me until I turn a little key in the middle of his back. That’s when he starts to dance, moving his body to the music that rises from inside him. It’s that simple! I turn the key, he sways and bows, dips and stretches for as long as the melody lasts.

I hadn’t always thought of him like that; saw him more as a plaything, a toy, a souvenir until today when he reveals something else. In that catch of sunlight I see myself for a moment poised, on the edge, waiting for the music to begin. It begins and we move together, matching each other, turning this way and that. Then as suddenly it stops and we return to our old selves, enlivened, connected, almost changed.