Is there anything more joyous to watch than a dog revelling in the freedom of being at the beach? Running flat out, smiling like the devil’s on their heels but knowing that it doesn’t have a hope in hell of catching them.
Today, we finished daylight saving here in New Zealand, and the day was glorious. Perfect for a beach walk just to enjoy the freedom and space of it, although the days are gone when I bound around in funktionslust like the dogs do.
I’ve been waiting to use that word – funktionslust – ever since I learned it years ago. It’s a German word and means ‘to take pleasure in functioning at our best’. To extend that, imagine an antelope running and doing what seems to be meaningless leaps and bounds as they go. Why do they do it? There may be a technical reason, but to me it looks like it’s just because they can, they’re damn good at it, and they love it. Funktionslust.
So, dogs on the beach in full funktionslust are a joy to behold. It lifts the spirits to watch them.
I go the beach for a walk periodically. I like that I can look out and see the horizon in the distance, and not just more land way out there. It gets me wondering what is out there past that horizon – although I kinda know that one way is Chile and the other way is Antarctica, but I don’t let that interfere with my musings. Sometimes I need a visual reminder that life is bigger than me and the world around me, and that for a while I’m not attached to anything.
There were three UFOs flying along the beach while I was there. When I got home, I asked Professor Google what they were. Turns out they weren’t UFOs, but powered paragliders. They looked like fun! Who doesn’t daydream about being able to fly, after all? I couldn’t see if there were women or men, or both, in the seats. Although it nearly breaks my tongue to say it, I admit that men are generally more adventurous when it comes to doing things with machines. Not always, of course, but so far it seems that they gravitate more towards machines than women do.
It’s not that women don’t have adventurous spirits, but the world and social constructs are not set up as well to let them be free to go forth, court a bit of danger, and make many mistakes. Then dust themselves off and do it all over again. Those who manage to buck convention and do it bring forth sighs of envy from my too timid heart. I don’t think I’ve led an entirely safe life – on occasions not at all – but I haven’t busted into the bigtime of purposely risky adventures.
This brings me to an interesting observation by those attuned to social observations, which I think may still be in its nascent stages, but interesting nonetheless – it seems that if schoolgirls of all ages are allowed to wear pants as part of their school uniform, they stay more physically active as they get older. Traditionally, schoolgirls get less physically active outside of organised sports as they get older, but maybe that was more to do with wearing dresses than a tendency related purely to their sex? Hopefully, schools that have school uniforms will begin to relax their dress codes for girls more, so we can see where this goes. Girls in pants just might be bolshier than girls in dresses.
And so for a while when I was at the beach I forgot all about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. Actually, I never thought about it much, apart from thinking that it was highly entertaining at the time – or rather when I saw the replay. And then realising what a wicked person I was for thinking that after everyone started writing about why it was so bad, and I could totally see that it was. And I suitably chastised myself for not being so perspicacious as all those other people. Which I now am, belatedly.
Then I dusted myself off and carried on. The beach will do that for us.
Header pic is the track leading to the beach.