Today, I walked.
I walked into the chilly October air, following the dogs. A dog is as good as a compass.
Eyes to Heaven, thanks to this natural chappel. Who needs a church? Mine is right here.
As we set out on our journey, the sky was a dizzying azure backdrop behind tall trees with yellow and red and orange leaves. They wave to me, tiny hands fluttering hellos from on high.
Eventually the path becomes obscure, covered in leaves, like golden lava curling around themselves. The dog perks up, wary of some wayward creature, then commences her splashing into a drainage ditch.
Dogs are pure in-the-moment experience. There is no here or there, no then and upcoming. There's only now. This path, this sky, this scent, this splash. When it's gone, it's forgotten.
I strive for this kind of zen. When I am troubled, I walk. It calms my mind. Today, I walked for hours. I walked until my thighs quivered with tiny muscle spasms; I walked until my left pinkie toe bled.
We wander through the thicket, having lost the trail. It's okay: I follow them. We listen to the leaves swish, swish under foot, to the squish, squash of my shoes on soggy mud. Still, I follow my dogs. They have never let me down.
Sometimes it's hard to know which direction to go.
We traipse through mud, through brier patches and weeds, hoping to find the way.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In the end, I am happy with my path, however unorthodox.
Sure I live with nine dogs and my idea of fun is sleeping with my dogs in the snow. But if others could find one half the pure joy I find from my dogs and my lifestyle, perhaps my path would not seem so unusual.
Here's to the oddities and being true to yourself.