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