Tuesday, November 21

A Game of Gopher

A Children's Story
(Written verrrry quickly to make a point for a very distracted little boy!)

Diggory and Quincy liked nothing better than to go on tremendously long walks with their people. With their ebony fur streaming in the wind, their enormous pink tongues lolling and dripping out of the sides of their gaping canine mouths, they would run from sniff to scent and back again.

Wheat fields were a favorite walk. City walks were acceptable, but a little boring for two pooches that fancied themselves to be great hunters. It was just that, of course: a fancy. Quincy and Diggory could never actually catch anything, but the chase was enormous fun and they sniffed out everything from rabbits to mice, and pheasants to coyotes.

Their very best walk, their absolute favorite of all, was a summertime romp in a field full of gophers. Diggory and Quincy, usually calm and just a little bit lazy, became wild, frothing at the mouth hunters in that field. With every peep from a gopher hole, the dogs would launch into a frenzied chase, charging from hole to hole, desperately trying to get their paws on a wiggly little rodent.

Those gophers were a whily lot, however! No sooner would the dogs arrive at one hole, convinced they’d finally cornered a critter, when a gopher squeek would sound from a completely different hole ten feet away. Off they’d run again, sure that this time they would pin the little beast down.
From hole to hole they would run and leap. From squeak to peep they would wildly chase. And the gopher’s, playing their taunting game, would just keep sounding off in different parts of the field.

Diggory and Quincy’s people had a hard time getting control of the dogs on this sort of walk; the dogs were so intent on the sounds and smells of the field that they forgot the people were there. They just ran and ran and ran. Eventually the people would catch-up, put on their leashes, and tell them it was time to go home.

When they did get home, those furry, slobbering, exhausted pooches would flop in a heap on the kitchen floor, quickly falling into a dream-filled sleep. Soundly sleeping – even snoring – they would continue to chase those gophers! Paws scritching and noses sniffling, Quincy and Diggory dreamed about the hunt long after it was over.

In some ways, I think our minds behave a bit like those two big, black dogs. Sometimes lazy, sometimes bored, and sometimes a little bit wild. Thoughts can act a lot like gophers in a wide open field: they pop up here and there. They trick us into thinking about something over here instead of the thing we’re supposed to be concentrating on over there. And sometimes there are so many thoughts we just can’t catch them all and we feel very overwhelmed.

Sometimes Diggory and Quincy needed their people to leash them and bring them back under control before they went completely, wildly out of control. And sometimes we need to do the same thing with our minds: we need to just slow everything down for a bit and choose one gopher to chase instead of trying to catch them all!

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