Posted on March 20th, 2014
hen I opened the door to Peaches’ friend, I told her she would find her in the backyard.
“Oh,” the girl said, and nodded knowingly. “Training Friday to jump through a hoop, I guess.”
I laughed and replied with something light and dismissive that essentially equated to ‘hardly.’ I wondered what Peaches might have imagined aloud to her friend about some shared girl-and-her-dog adventures that might possibly have led her friend to believe she was teaching Friday to perform circus tricks in the unloved wilds of our blighted backyard.
But I found myself drifting over to the kitchen window to peek anyway. Because while the idea was fanciful in a colorfully, perfectly childlike way, there was also the distinct air of possibility to it. In the faintest outlines of a beautiful and far-fetched reality—one that might only become real through intention and hopeful repetition—I thought I could sense Peaches’ small, certain hand.
And, sure enough, through the glass I could see my daughter standing with an oversized hula-hoop in one hand and a rope toy our year-old puppy favors in the other. As the dog ran merry circles around her (at the very least, the girl was a focus of Friday’s excited interest), Peaches waved the toy at the dog, speaking words I couldn’t quite make out.
She told me later that she had talked to her father about an idea to teach our family dog to perform circus tricks. (Scott says he remembers being encouraging but also recalls their conversation having lasted about 30 seconds.) Peaches’ dog-training strategy was elegant; simply put, she planned to coax Friday to run through the hoop while it still rested on the ground. Then, little by little, she would raise the obstacle off the ground until, before the dog really knew it, she would be flying through it.
“She’s just not ready to jump for me yet,” she finished.
And with her last word, I could see it emerging steadily, if blurrily, again: Peaches’ expectation of things to come. She would seem to carry within her the precious understanding that whatever she might hold in her hands at the end of one day doesn’t dictate what she will have gathered in her arms at the end of another month or year or even another day. Hers is a faith with the power to carry her through dark passes and dry spells, a strength of belief with the power to engender flight.∗