As previously noted, I’ve been contemplating the meaning of time a lot in Australia.  This is partly because I find myself with more of it on my hands, and everyone is so darn far away there’s not too much to fill it up with.  It’s also partly because we live with the constant tick of a clock, marking the minutes, hours and days until we leave this great continent and return home.

As I’ve been trying to live more in the present, I’ve realized that my pets are an awesome guide to this kind of life.

Take my daily walks with Bentley.  No other time in the day do I get 20-30 minutes to just wander around outside and clear my mind.  Bentley’s walking habits are totally impulsive – he stops at street corners and mailbox posts to investigate interesting/offensive smells, he lunges at the birds in the park, he glances back at me occasionally (as if he couldn’t tell by the tug of the leash that I was still back there).  Without our walks, I would have never noticed a 30+ flock of white cockatoos swooping over the streets of Richmond and settling into an enormous pine for a morning snack.  Or the bright pink and red camelias in their defiant winter bloom, bursting to life in the thick of winter and brightening up otherwise dead and decayed home gardens.

And without Smokey, I might otherwise go about my weekend duties and not stop to enjoy a warm winter morning.  Cats are incredibly adept at enjoying the little moments in life (and well-known for their sun-basking abilities).  Here’s Smokey and me, enjoying a little apricity and relishing in the present.