This afternoon a white dog caught my eye. He was standing in the grassy median on York, a big street for a dog anything less than street smart to get even half way across- as he had. He was tall, an all white malamute or husky. His head was down. Initially, I thought he was eating dog food from a can. The voracity with which he ate made it hard for me to tear my eyes away.
I soon realized that what he was eating was not food at all, but the plastic wrapper from a slim jim. I noticed his ribs and his pelvic bone, I noticed the tiny circumference of his waist and his neck. He smelled the beef on the plastic and was so hungry that he didn't care that what he was eating was plastic. It smelled like food and it would do.
I have been that hungry.
He turned and stared at me with icy blue eyes. He kept chewing. He kept staring. I felt penetrated by his stare. As I diverted my eyes, I noticed my thoughts:
"I need to harden my heart," I thought.
In the face of sadness, of disappointment, of helplessness I felt vulnerable and I berated myself for being tender and penetrable. This world is so unsafe for so many of us.