It turns out that hiking two hundred miles solo is good for figuring things out. Among other things, I realized that I really didn't want to move again. After living in eleven different states as an adult, moving on has lost its allure.
We lost another of our dogs this week, this time sweet, happy Sierra. Pets are the only creatures you can really love unconditionally. People say they love their partners that way, but what they really mean is that they love them unconditionally as long as the other person behaves in a way that is understandable and acceptable to them. But Sierra loved J like that, once walking off the tread on her paws without complaining to keep up on a brutal 12 mile hike. The week she died, she gamely trotted behind his bike. She tried to rally after her emergency surgery, just like she always had when we dragged her on long hikes. She tried so hard. She wanted to live so much, even if it meant in the same yard, the same trails, the same people. You can learn a lot from a dog.
|Cale, Sierra, Aluco. Only Cale is left.|
I looked at the clear water beneath my feet and let it go, a dream that had become frayed around the edges. I was staying here, and it looked like forever. For the first time, it felt really good to believe this. A weight I had been carrying around a long time floated away, the need to have big adventures every day, to always be traveling. It's not settling. It's finally coming home.