29 Jan

An Excerpt from The Big Head Diaries

Big Head Looks Horizon

NZ 2003

My feet still feel too big for my body. Humans might describe it as trying to run in oversized socks, but what do humans know? Humans buy special shoes for running, and they have races where they run in circles. I’ve also heard they run in place on machines that cost thousands of dollars.

Running is as simple as looking to the horizon and going hard. Today I’m bolting with my mate Memphis. He’s a Jack Russell. For a little twerp, he sure can move. I give chase and he cuts back and forth, but I stay the course and run right through him. Like an open-side flanker in rugby, I’m a punisher.

Looking over my shoulder, I see him tumble. We’re young; we’re durable. Flipping head over heels for ten meters is all in a day’s fun. He’s back up in a flash and angles toward me. Maybe if he played rugby, one of New Zealand’s religions, he’d know how to take me down using technique instead of brute force, like I do. Instead of barreling into me, though, he falls into line behind me. A wise choice.

Here on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, visible horizons extend in every direction. Native bush used to cover the lands on which I now run, but it was burned long ago to make way for grass. Sheep—those tasty buggers—need a lot of grass to eat. Patches of native bush still thrive in the gullies and along the river nearby. I’ll explore the bush one day because deer live in there.

Memphis breaks out of my draft and accelerates past me. I kick it up another notch. We follow the contours of the land, paws barely touching the ground, riding a blanket of speed and joy. Like a pair of fighter jets in formation, we disappear over a hill that minutes ago was our horizon. We’ve never gone this direction, and my neck cranes at the vastness. At my young age, I’ve learned this is one of the greatest pleasures in life: going beyond where one can see—only to find more to explore.

It’s that time of day when our fur shines and breaths deepen. Fern trees peek over the canyon’s edge sporting their vibrant greens as they sway and bow in the evening winds. Panting, we stop and lap at our goods. Our gaze shifts behind us then back to the uncharted horizons. The hills invite us to continue, but our long shadows point us home. I give Memphis a lick, and we trot off.

With the last rays of the sun piercing long wisps of clouds, I understand why locals refer to New Zealand as Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud. Now there is no chasing, no barking—just two mates side by side in stride. The sun dips, golds turn to crimsons, and I can’t help feeling sorry for humans running in circles.

Big Head and MemphisBig Head and Memphis New Zealand 2003

Big Head plans on releasing the first Volume of the Big Head Diaries in the summer of 2017. If you can’t wait until then to hear his story you can read Without Rain There Can Be No Rainbows, a multimedia memoir from the perspective of Mr. Chin, Big Head’s Dad. 


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