“Well, I’m outside and the sun is shining, the wind is blowing …yeah, pretty much always the wind is blowing … and it just builds up in me and I kinda burst … ya know? I kinda just can’t keep it in. I just have to pounce on the swirling little pink blossom petals. They’re just swirling and swirling … ya never know where they’ll go next—they’re all over the sidewalk. I just kinda lose it! I have to jump on them… sometimes I just mash my face into the sidewalk. I can’t help it! I’ve never really thought about it as a weakness … ya know. It’s just something I do … like digging in the sand and chewing on a Nylabone dinosaur. Who knows where it comes from? If it feels good, do it!”
These are Freckle’s words … after we realized just what was going on and confronted her. It was after the first windstorm in cherry blossom season. Both Mary Doug and I had one arm that had been extended by 14 inches! We’d be walking along like any other day and bam! Freckle would be pouncing and grinding her little lopsided nose into the sidewalk … for no apparent reason. Until we realized that she was chasing and attacking cherry blossom petals—little pink flakes that swirled in the wind and raced along in front of us in a windstorm. She was gleeful! Almost ecstatic you could say. It was amazing once we recognized the signs. We’d had no experience with this particular behaviour. And Ceilidh would stand by and look in Freckle’s direction (Ceilidh is pretty much blind) with an expression that said ‘What ARE you doing?
Is it good for her? Probably not … at least it has the potential to be bad for her. We have speculated about whether this might be the cause of her broken jaw but then dismissed the idea. After the wind dies down and our extended arms have shrunken back to their normal length, we usually laugh about Freckle’s habit. After all, how often do you just break loose and do something spontaneously simply because it feels good? How often do you express your “inner joy” and engage in play when the opportunity arises? Exactly! I think we should learn from our cherry blossom-chaser and begin watching for moments of opportunity when they swirl past us too.