Afoot and Lighthearted

Frequently broadcast over the holidays was an abbreviated version of the extended version shown below which started out like most commercials do for me…as an irritation…a real ear worm. And yet, once I pondered those words and recognized it as part of the poem “Song of the Open Road” written by the incomparable Walt Whitman, it suddenly transformed into a powerful message. It’s one of those ads that lingers in your subconscious no doubt fulfilling the ad’s intent. What started out as a simple annoyance, ended up sounding more like a theme song for Sam and Elsa upon reflection, an anthem of wanderlust and doesn’t that appeal to all dogs? While I know its aim is to sell something, who can deny that chocolatey, velvet voice of James Brolin conveying other emotions? Add to the visual images conjured up in the mind…and yes, it is easy to see how it could be considered a custom-made paean for dogs and their adventures on their road of life. With enthusiasm for walks and exploring, it seems like the perfect extension of their autonomy (oh, those smells, those squirrel sightings, the self-discovery!) with the joyous way they experience life.  Talk about being filled with a simple, yet oh so powerful inspiration. It suggests we should take time to examine our own ‘long brown path’ as we take to the ‘open road.’  And while the 30-second commercial more frequently aired cherry picks some of the best lines from the poem […the east and the west are mine, the north and south are mine and all seems beautiful to me], I realized the first verse of the poem could easily be a dog’s theme song and last line could certainly be mine when it comes to them.

Song of the Open Road (a condensed version ~ 
to see all 15 stanzas, click on the link below)
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)
What’s your ‘open road’ look like for 2017? Is the east and west yours, or the north and south?
Live, love, bark! <3

28 thoughts on “Afoot and Lighthearted

  1. That commercial always got to me too! I did not know the origin of the poem and I never saw the extended version either, so thanks for sharing it! I love your interpretation as well. I like the idea of looking upon this new year as our open road, full of possibilities.

  2. Haha…my husband and I always laugh at the version with that scruffy, artsy writer-guy hitting the road. Our favorite part is the quick shot of the fox who for some reason looks really scared and worried. :-/

    1. Never figured out the point of that fox shot. It wasn’t until I watched it a few times and listened to the words that all the odd imagery faded and the words ‘spoke’ to me about his journey. That driver still needs to get a haircut though or at least a brush-probably even a shampoo! LOL 😉

  3. They have played this commercial a lot here too. I don’t know where the road will take me this year, I only know that my little Mob will be with me 🙂 Thanks for letting me know it was Whitman, I had forgotten how much I enjoy his poetry 🙂

  4. How did I manage to miss this commercial? It makes me think about the mornings when I just really don’t want to get up and walk Harper Lee and Tallulah (separate walks, of course, because Harper Lee wants to stop and smell every little thing and go as slowly as possible and Tallulah wants to speed along like there’s no tomorrow so she can meet as many dogs and people as possible). I have to remind myself how very important the “open road” is to them, and how important sharing it with them is to me. Happy 2017. May your path be filled with health and happiness and love and life.

    1. You probably saw the 30 second spot [https://youtu.be/DQyOY-5LLmI]; I just embedded the longer version because it’s striking in its imagery and prose. Have always loved Whitman’s poem and it seemed like it was tailor made for that ad. Warm wishes for a ‘pawsome’ 2017 filled with loads of smiles and love. 💗

  5. Love the poem. I’ve seen SO many car ads this Holiday Season I can’t give it a fair assessment right now. As for the Open Road in 2017…might just be taking it. Possible move in our future depending on how things play out. One thing is for sure…these car ads run year round so if we need a new car for the journey it will be quite easy to learn what’s “hot” to drive upon the Open Road!

  6. I hadn’t seen the commercial before, but then, I no longer watch television, even online. I love the poem. The ad? Meh. So in what direction will I head this year? That is yet to be decided. But I am pondering that very thing these days. Here’s hoping the road takes us where we need to go.

  7. It does add something to the commercial when you realize it is based on a Walt Whitman poem. Not sure what my “open road” looks like, but am going to try to have more days that I am going to call “me days,” where I just do fun things…for me and Tippy. We’ll see. I tried that last year and failed, but, this is a new year.

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