I was in Taipei, finally I was walking the streets of Taiwan. Finally I could see those famous temples. And there I was taking a picture of this beautiful dragon’s smoke.
Then a dog barked in the temple.
Cats yes, but dog no. I never saw dogs in a temple, the best friend of men is not allowed.
But he was there and his voice was subtle. It was not a strong bark, it was like a prayer.
I turned around and started looking at the crowed. Most of the people were trowing jiaobei on the floor hoping to change their destiny and wishing for a favourable response. Some where lighting incense, others burning prayers. A group of women were posing flowers on an altar and a young couple taking a picture near a statue.
And, sitting on a step, she was.
Alone, in the middle of the crowd, holding her dog in her arms.
An old woman, with white hair, with her dog on her lap. She looked poor and her eyes were sweet. Our sights crossed, I smiled and bowed my head. She returned me the sweetest of smiles. Nobody was seeing her? Or probably nobody wanted to see her.
In Asia I hardly ever saw people having a dog. There are cases but it’s quite uncommon compared to Europe, above all is quite uncommon in older generations. But she was different, she loved a dog.
I stepped aside behind a column and watched her pray with her dog on her lap.
She wasn’t there praying for herself and she was probably the only one in the whole temple really praying. And she was praying for the men’s best friend that filled her life with love. For that furry creature that barked away loneliness from her life.
My eyes were full of tears.
I went to the young couple taking selfies with a stick and asked them for an incense to burn. They looked at me thinking “what a weirdo”.
Then I went in front of the statue of a Buddha and I lit that stick and wished for the women and the dog to find peace. I wished that she were never again to fear loneliness like today.
I wished that the spirit of my grandmother and my grandmother’s dog would visit her in a dream to bring her and her dog peace.
Then I looked for one last time at that women and her dog. They were spreading love to each other from their eyes. Their mutual affection was pure. They were each others’ best friend and I hope they will never fear loneliness again.
We as humans, receive more love from dogs.
We call dogs our best friends because we forgot how to be the best friend to each other.
I left the temple.