The Admiral read Jack London’s Call of the Wild in third grade, and raced through his other books based on an animal’s point of view. She has been writing her own stories since the time she could pick up a pencil, and now spends her creative energy on several role-playing sites, including one about a pack of wild dogs. Participants in these sites write their stories communally, picking up a thread where others drop off and instigating new plot lines.
It would never occur to me to imagine how a dog might perceive sunrise. (Things like that do occur to my brother, who sometimes seems to share more genetic material with my daughter than I do. Together, they come up with all sorts of fun and strange ideas.) When the Admiral shared with me her introductory post on a new thread, I was struck anew at just how differently she views the world. When I see a sunrise, I see some colors and think about weather systems (red sky at night and all that). When the Admiral sees a sunrise, she sees this:
Sunrise by cameraphone by Ahmed. Licensed under Creative Commons.
Sunrise, by The Admiral
Ah, the sun, so bright and warm on that lovely morning. It heated skin and made dogs shiver as the last bits of cold left them. The grass was still wet with dew from the night, and as the giant orb of fire rose in the sky, colors battled for reign. A young Australian Cattle dog, pelt soft and clean, walked along the pathway of the park, a smile on her face and a spring in her step. Her pack had won a battle last night without mistake. They’d taken down the other dogs with ease and she was here to relax in peace.
Settling down beneath an oak tree just beside the water, she licked her muzzle. Still stained red, her teeth matched the color of the sky reflected in the pond water before her. She looked down into it, her own face smiling back up at her. There were spots of dried blood just under her eyes and she raised a paw, pushing them off and watching them float into the middle of the small oasis. She looked up at the sky, her eyes squinting as the sun burned them. There were many colors.
There was a deep red, almost congratulatory of her pack’s triumph the night before. As the blood swirled about and colored the water, it blended with that color in the sky’s reflection. There in the very center of everything, that particular hue surrounded the sun and trickled off to join the others in their dancing rise to morning.
A bit of yellow twisted in battle with that color, contrasting it with a pale glow striped across the waters. This was a color that made the young she-dog think of peace. It was mellow, calm, a friendly sight. Perhaps this told of things to come, calmness in the city that she had never before seen. She shook her head. It was unlikely. Life here was not meant to be peaceful. They were destined to fight for survival at every paw step.
And then, her favorite color. Of course, being a dog, she could not name the hues except to describe them. And for this one, she described it as royalty. It ruled the sky, blending right into the blue of the daylight. It always won the battle, and thus she named it Victory. Perhaps, the most wonderful thing about that color of the sunrise was that it was so calm. It didn’t twist in combat with the other colors, merely sat atop them all with a certain authority. She wanted to be like that color.
She wanted to feel the Victory inside her.