Dogs must believe in magic the way children do, with wonder and joy, but without the sense of apprehension, the wanting desperately to believe but knowing, deep down that the joke is on them. To dogs the entire world must be an incredible place where bunnies burst from thick clumps of grass, where the skies rain sweet smelling petals one day and cold-to-the-nose fluff the next, where paths are carved by scents rather than feet.
Today, not far from our door, around the side of the building and at the end of a trail of white, perfectly round-capped mushrooms, which rose up from the tall, moist grass like a line of antique ivory buttons, Duncan discovered the bush. It was a red thing, short and squat like a dwarf, but bright in the smoky orange air, each leaf an exclamation point against the grass below. It rustled as we approached and as Duncan leaned forward, pulling his leash tight in hopes of thrusting his nose against the warm backside of a rabbit, countless tiny birds burst from its interior, first only a few at a time, then more and more until I actually took a step back and laughed aloud as Duncan sat down hard, his head swiveling from side to side then up and down, his ears raised and his beautiful, magnificent eyebrows cocked in wonder. Bird after bird rose from the thing, flinging themselves into the air and alighting on a neighboring bush, where they scurried inside and back to whatever conference they'd been attending. Perhaps sixty or seventy in all, coming in waves, their voices rising up as they leaped, until all around us was a whistling white noise, the flap of bony little wings and the soft scuffle of feathers against the air. On and on they came and finally, as their numbers dwindled, I wanted nothing more than to ask Duncan what he thought had happened because there would be poetry in his telling and magic as leaves took flight and swirled around his head, singing to him in a strange and lyrical language without translation but whose meaning was clear and as pure as his heart.