We took the dogs to the woods this afternoon. Kai, our little “who rescued whom” guy, bounded gleefully out of the van into the snow. Seven minutes later, he stopped circling back to say check in. We’d meant to be gone an hour, door to door, but four and a half hours later, he still hadn’t come back.
It’s amazing how many terrible things you can conjure that could happen to a dog in the woods in winter as the early darkness closes in and a light, cold rain begins to fall. I didn’t go there for a long time – we just kept walking the three-mile path, end to end, calling his name into empty trees – but Kem did, because that’s how she does it, like a person who sits in the window seat on the airplane and stares at the wing for the whole flight so it won’t fall off. And then I went there a little, but just a little. Better to breathe my prayers and just walk, and even enjoy the black and white of the woods in winter, the peace and the profound silence, punctuated only by our footsteps and calling calling calling his name.
And then there he was at the van, wet and hungry and happy to hop in and finally head for home. Once again, my little Zen master had a lesson, this one about the choice to waste an afternoon or salvage it. It’s all up to me.