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Connecting With Our Collective Past


Today I went out and played with my two dogs- a Lab named Dakota and a Newfoundland mix named Max. 

That’s a picture of Max above- one in which I accidentally captured his elusive nature.  It’s pretty much a daily ritual at this point- I go out, wrestle them until they’re tired, and then they trot out to chew on their bones.

As I was wrestling them, I had a thought- someone five thousand years ago had probably done the same exact thing.  I was engaging in an activity that had occurred since humans first domesticated the wolf.


There’s a supreme amount of meaning in doing something that is very much similar to the activities our ancestors did- it allows us to live as they did, if just for a moment.  Our thoughts naturally mirror theirs- as I was wrestling Dakota (pictured immediately above devouring a bone) all of my typical thoughts vanished and I was left with just a blur of fur and slobber and action.  I’m sure my counterpart five thousand years ago was thinking the same thing- playing with his dogs allowed him to take his mind off the worries of the hunt by focusing on the immediate situation.

Since time is strictly linear, this is truly a one-way street.  Our ancestors cannot do many of the things we do today.  The technology simply didn’t exist.  The only way we can connect with them is by living out the situations they did, and reflecting on their existence as we do it.  It’s hard not to learn something about yourself when you do this.

It’s not hard to do, either.  A few weeks ago I built a small fire to burn some branches that had fallen in the yard.  I stood out there for three or four hours, just watching the fire burn.  I can state with absolute certainty said activity has occurred since fire was discovered by primitive man.  The same is true of looking up at the stars- stars that really haven’t changed since man first walked on the Earth. 

Since our ancestors can’t reach out to us, our only hope of reaching our ancestors is to reach backwards toward them, and hope to learn something from the process.  Tonight, playing with my two dogs, I did just that.

One Response

  1. I love this post! That’s why I love walking the dogs- well, not that the ancestors walked their dogs…but, it takes my mind off everything and allows me to connect with them. And I love the pictures of Max and “Koda” as well call him…..It does capture their personalities 🙂

    Your wife 🙂

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