This morning when I woke, I found that one dog had wet her bed and another had made a mess on the kitchen floor. Once I had dealt with that and fed the monsters, the third dog vomited on the carpet.

And yet last night I went to a recital of transcendently lovely music. For about an hour the world consisted only of lovely things like Faure’s Theme and Variations. The pianist made witty comments on the pieces he had chosen, including both George Crumb’s Rain-Death and The Legend of Zelda. His hands flew about on the keys and his body swayed, and the piano gleamed beneath a silver-draped ceiling. Quite wonderful.

This is one of the central tensions in life: the beauty of art, thought, love, kindness, and even of an affection dog — juxtaposed against the messy physical realities of digestion, defecation, childbirth, illness, death.