From Austen to Lake Norman
Mr. Bingley takes his morning walk on our road. He shuffles along, in his age, and stops to inspect things of interest. He does not hurry, accepting his limitations. Yet his determined spirit powers his bent, somewhat shabby body out for his walk in the early morning solitude.
I did not know Mr. Bingley when he was young and in his prime. I did not see his scamper and quick movements of energy. It was then that he would have heard and seen me, and he might have barked in recognition. Had I known Mr. Bingley in those days, he would have stopped to hear the squirrels scattering in the trees at his approach and acknowledged the call of the Carolina Chickadees. His bright eyes, not covered in film as now, would have noticed other walkers and perhaps paused to hear some news or gossip.
Yet, I only know Mr. Bingley now, in his time of less—the less of everything which all living things experience through the passing of days. Like the mild-manned father from Austen’s novel that he is named for, Mr. Bingley, a fine Cavalier Spaniel, carries his name and breeding well. Regardless of his faded color, deafness, cataracts, and curved spine, Mr. Bingley walks with the pride of a deacon, content with that which he has.