I’ve missed a few days of the challenge. I told myself, at the beginning of the month, that I would do the best I can to write everyday but I would also give myself permission to miss days where I felt uninspired or too busy. The last time I posted was five days ago. Even though I am not feeling especially creative at the moment, I am forcing myself to write. I’ve been experiencing some end of winter blues and it’s been manifesting as grumpiness. This state isn’t unfamiliar to me, it shows up every once in a while. My reaction to it isn’t new either. I get very impatient when grumpiness arises. It’s not always easy to embrace the uncomfortable stuff no matter how well I know that all emotional states are transient. During my bike ride this morning I went down a path that I often travel on my way to the beach. Part of it weaves through a neighbourhood that is a mixture of stone houses and farm fields. Like a dependable landmark, I always pass by a dog tied up on a short leash in her backyard. She is a Jindo, a Korean breed that is highly valued as guard dogs because of their dependable loyalty and their territorial instinct. There are many of these dogs on the island. Unfortunately, a large number of them are tied to short ropes and left in dirty, shadeless yards. This particular dog I’ve passed since she was a puppy. Even as a pup, she would thrash against the fence in an attempt to attack me as I rode by. Now she is fully grown and her soft white coat has turned to brisly gray from dirt and neglect. Her bark is bigger and more fierce. My heart goes out to her. She looks so lonely lying in the dirt with her head resting on her front paws. I’m sure, since she is a pack animal, she yearns for human contact, but it is in her nature to chase away intruders. So she barks and charges every time a stranger comes near which condemns her to a lonesome existence. As I witnessed this poor animal this morning I couldn’t help but think of my current emotional state and how grumpiness makes it challenging to feel the connection for which I yearn.