Fiddle Steps Out

   Fiddle the dog was lying down under the sun, his body motionless on the pitch driveway.  Glimpses of his days as a pup passed by.  He remembered his mother, the gentle cleanings, the warm milk.  He saw his siblings, thrashing about and chewing on their mother's ears.  He felt his first bed, with its chewed-through lining.  And once again he was taken from his bed too soon.
   He rose and ambled through the best parts of the front lawn, carefully smelling the fresh-cut grass, the trees, the tender shrubs.  Taking a good look around the yard, something told him it was time to go.  He padded around to the backside of the house and from there passed into much wilder lands.
   As he started on his way, saplings and seedlings that he had never noticed shimmered on all sides.  He was very careful not to step on them.  Weeds, thorns, and rotting tree limbs posed a problem; he had to find holes and gaps to crawl through.  So many things to face, but he did not let it bother him.  Following the footpath that lay ahead, he continued on.
   Soon Fiddle grew tired.  But just as he was about to stop for a nap, he heard the gurgling of flowing water.  A short ways ahead, he found a stream that cut through the path, or rather, the path seemed to end at the stream.  He walked up to it and stared at all the shapes in the water passing by.  He could not remember seeing so much water before. He wondered, did the water roll down from the clouds and gather in the deep pockets.  He did not know, but he tossed in just the same.
   And things got much more sillier and not did make nearly as so much sense as before.  Here was a place to make a face better.  Jump and leap-skip hop-tap roll-sit, run this way not go away.
   Away fiddle-dee-dee the fuddly dog went about and cross-waddle saw the pool of the bubbly things.  Swim-a-lim and in the fin, the fish let out the roll-around around and under again down.  Waddle more did the dog, the dog did.  Did dog the waddle.  Pile the parts on top and see.
   And then once more, went to side the dog that found the watery place. A look inside, a secret tide.  Stay and see the what it would across. Aside and find so much.  Sad then the did did shut the lid.  A hop, a bound, pounce on the ground.
   The dog looked once more but could not see the finny friend.  "Sit by the tree and not scare the little fin any more," he thought to himself.  "Sit down, little dog, you play too rough here."
   So he sat down, cradled by mossy roots.  As the soft wind whirled around under his nose, he nodded off.  It was a pleasant sleep of deep blankets, tasty cookies, and warm hands petting his sides.  But it did not last long.  A low, rumbling voice interrupted.  The sound was not frightening.  It was soothing to hear, like the constant thud of a waterfall against a stone floor.
   It was the voice of Gnarl, the great father tree.  He was the keeper of the forest and guarded the deep secrets.  The light words that he spoke helped bring Fiddle to his feet.
  "Fiddle, good friend.  You should know this place.  The source, the precious stream, all things flow in it, passing through.  They play but they do not stay.  They go their way and in time return to the chilled comfort."
   Fiddle then realized that he had not hurt the fish.  And started recalling images of the stream, so far back that he could not place them. "Then friend is not hurt?  Oh, this is good!  Now I can run and sit down or splash."  And play he did, in many sides and down the silent ways. And in time, when he was ready, he finished his journey.

(c) 1994, Matthew K. Coughlin