Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Road Less Traveled

Okay, so I stole M. Scott Peck's title, but if you know anything about copyright law, you'll remember titles are not copyrightable (is that a word?). So I'm safe. Phew!

It was the only title I could think of to describe Baxter's behavior at the cottage.

While Ridge, Elsie, and the Kenya Bean jumped in, splashed, waded, swam, retrieved, and competed with each other on the left side of the dock, Baxter consistently waited for Don to toss a dummy for him on the right side of the dock.

He took a different way, the waters less traveled, retrieved every bit as joyfully and effectively, and with fewer competitors and less stress along the way.

Maybe he's on to something.

Oh, to be sure, he had to do some trailblazing: his path wasn't nearly as clean and free of weeds as the path on the other side of the dock, but he got the job done.

And who knows...maybe he even liked the trailblazing aspect of his water retrieving.

But he didn't have to contend with three other snorting snouts, twelve other webbed paws splayed in motion, and the countless splashes of Elsie, Ridge, and Kenya trying to get his dummy (it is his, don't you know!) at the same time. He was free to paddle and retrieve in his way, in his time, according to his style without fear of losing out to some impish competitor.

Did Baxter retrieve the same way the other three did? No, but he was every bit as capable and effective, smoother in the water, and much calmer in the process.

All because he did things in his style and time.

Hmmmm...

Sounds like a plan to me.

Sounds like a wise plan.

A very wise plan.

I sometimes doubt the wisdom of going the road-less-traveled. I work from home ("telecommute" if you will). I freelance. I work out of my converted-dining-room office. I constantly live with the tension of choosing between deadlines and dirty laundry.

But I get the job done. In my way; in my time; according to my style, and all without the hubbub, chaos, and high-stress competition of corporate America.

Oh, like Baxter's, my path holds more mud and lilypads than the frequented road, and I have to do some trailblazing along the way (as in educating others about the validity and professionalism of working from home), but I complete my contracts, bill my hours, get my paycheck, and finish my work professionally, on time, and with great care and quality.

I do the job and do it well, even if I take a different route to get there.

And I don't have to deal with the commuting, traffic, office gossip, management politics, or the climb-the-ladder competitiveness so many live with each day.

Honestly, I'd die on that path (not physically, but mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually). It only took me decades to realize it, but I'm finally realizing the road-less-taken is a valid option for me.

And I'm enjoying the journey.

Baxter knew what was best for him, and waited for his opportunity. Then he seized his chance and exuberantly did what he was called upon to do.

I'm learning to do the same.

See... you really can teach an old dog (like me) new tricks. :o)

As long as the old dog is teachable and willing. :o) Am I? Are you?

'Til next time,
Joan

2 comments:

very_vizsla said...

the labs look like they had a great time which is more than i could say about myself! i was wilting in the heat!

JuliaR said...

If we are willing, we can always learn something new. Even from our dogs. Love the pix and can just imagine all the splish-splashing going on.

I believe the phrase "road less travelled" originally came from Robert Frost's 1920 poem "The Road Not Taken".

The last three lines:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.