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My dog is a lotus-eater. He is devoted to pleasure and luxury. Even his work is pleasurable. He is self-employed which may explain how he maintains a happy work life balance. Vincent, my dog, is in the security business. He patrols the perimeter of our house and is highly skilled and sensitive. Vincent polices his check-points. Check-points are high-alert zones in our garden and in our friends' garden that demand investigation and re-investigation. Vincent's check-point ritual is an important precaution against intrusion (squirrels, possums, raccoons, other dogs, bugs). It is also important because it's his pleasure. He loves check-points and he luxuriates in what he loves.

There is a lotus festival in our neighborhood. People have been standing around the fragrant, pink lotus plants all week with cameras that have enormous lenses; lenses that I am sure can see the perforated seedpods and fleshy stems my eye cannot. Painters set up easels next to the lotus blossoms and play peek-a-boo; blossom, canvas, blossom, canvas, blossom, canvas. The painter's wrist tries to keep up with the speed the eye can discern color, position, light and layer. I discern pleasure in watching the watchful artist and the worthy subject. A lotus is an aquatic plant and I wonder if the lake itself feels annoyed. The flashy lotus gets a festival, paparazzi and portraits. While the lake, ever fluid, waits quietly for the blossoms' inevitable fall.

For now, they are luxurious blossoms. They, like Vincent, feed on the sun. They stretch, play, nap and bend with such pleasure in being alive. My best friend has a new tattoo of a flower and a line from a poem she loves. The poem is about a fox and a woman (Mary Oliver) who have a chat under a tree. I talk to Vincent all the time, by the way. He is a great conversationalist. He knows lots of words: walk, turtle, Ruby (his best friend), treat, NO, bed, and of course I love you. He's always inventing new ways to say, "I love you" - to me and to the world. Just like his check-points ritual, he constantly improves on his pleasure. The fox and the woman talk and the fox says to the woman that she has clever ideas but when it comes to enjoying her life she is, sadly, missing the point. "You fuss, we live", says the fox and my friend's tattoo. Vincent, the lotus-eater, agrees.

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