Our Liston days begin with walking the dogs, down the hill to the the dam where moorhens forage and ducks drag triangles behind them through reflections of tall gums. The grass grows scraggly and tussocky against the fence, and provides plenty of sniff experiences, even for two tethered dogs. But the tussock that attracts most attention is the lonely one in the middle of the road. Both dogs head for the same patch, noses down, and sniff companionably, while we wait patiently for them to move on.
The Warsaw twins do exactly the same thing, without the sniffing. Maja starts turning a domino into a mobile phone, and soon Jaś joins her and they sit together chatting away, not to each other, Maja repeating “Nie wiem” (I don't know) and Jaś continuing his vehicular conversations “'Ello autobus.” Or Jaś heads off into the hedge at the playground, and Maja thinks for a minute before she trots off to join him. Or they both grab their trucks and tear around the house dragging them and squealing in delight.
Yesterday one of my daughter's friends came to visit, and there was the same kind of companionable sniffing, this time around topics of conversation, each absorbing attention for a considerable time: philosophy, choice, critical thinking, black Australian history, books, the way the business of daily life interferes with the coherence of the thinking life, conspiracy theories, politics.
We are in fact all animals, taking our pleasures in similar ways.