Today is the vernal equinox, and therefore often described as the first day of spring. It was also the day on which our puppy cleared her second vaccination release date into the big wide world.
We took her to a little bit of beach nearby. Just think of the impact that all must have had on her, after nothing but house and garden all her life. Huge range of new smells (they see through their noses, don't they?) and sights and sounds, and a vast and puzzling new thing - looks like water but doesn't taste right, makes a totally new sound, and it keeps moving, and...
it's all overwhelmingly wonderful.
I was reminded of Prospero's response, in "The Tempest," when Miranda says:
"O brave new world, that hath such people in it."
She's just met the first human beings she has ever met, apart from her father, who says simply:
"'tis new to thee."
That line can express an exhausted, hard-bitten view of human society (after all it's done to him) or it can be a sweetly poignant recognition of all his daughter has before her, still to explore and experience - all the delights and despairs of life in the material world, all the pain he won't be able to shield her from, with no Ariel at his service.
The puppy faces none of this. She is entirely and absolutely in the moment; no preconceptions or projections into her future, no sense, even, of what that might be.
We're people, not puppies, with all the splendour and agony that offers us. But how good for us sometimes to see the world as the puppy does today - in the present entirely, full of wonder.
Mind you, sometimes she needs to get close to a reassuringly familiar presence, amidst this vast newness!