Despite the cold, Bow asks to go outside every day. He has a sweater and socks and clothes he could choose to wear, but he never does. He wants to go out as he is. And while he does not stay out for long, he does seem to accomplish a lot.
One of his favorite things to do is to express himself. First he looks around to see what he can see.
But then he does not wait very long to make his own contribution.
Bow's cries can be heard a long way away. Some people yodel. Bow just vocalizes. Then when he is done he can relax and enjoy the view.
And when Bow feels that he has accomplished all that can be accomplished, he takes that leap back inside, without ever touching the ground.
Does Bow go outside primarily to express himself? Is it because he can use his outdoor voice and it can carry well beyond the borders of our property? Is he sending a message to someone out there, or merely enjoying the sound of his own voice?
Many years ago, someone asked me whether I write in order to express myself or to communicate with others. At the time, I thought it an odd question. What would be the point of expressing myself, if I did not hope others would read and understand? What would be the point of communicating with others, if you were not allowed to express yourself in that communication?
But one of the things I have realized in the past thirteen years is that while communication and self-expression are related and often intertwined, they actually are separable. I am inclined to think that self-expression predates communication. I believe that reciprocity is overrated. Some messages go only one way. Sometimes you broadcast, but never receive. Like a baby's cry, which indicates a want, our most important ways of expressing ourselves go out, whether there is an appropriate audience or not. If the baby is lucky, his call will be heeded by a person who understands the want being expressed. Then self-expression will blossom into communication. But even so, every communication starts out as one-sided. In order to receive the self-expression of someone else, we have to stop speaking long enough to hear the other.
Bow always comes in from his outdoors sessions with a self-satisfied expression. He has said what he had to say. And whether or not his message was received, he feels much better.