A few days ago early in the evening, when the smoke from seemingly endless western wild fires had dissipated, I walked with my dog on BLM land.
We didn't travel far.
Rather, we stayed close to town.
Wandering down first one gravel road, we turned right onto a second gravel road, walked a couple of blocks and turned onto a short dirt trail that led out onto BLM land.
If we had headed out onto the trail we could have either circled our way all around the entire length of town at one fork, or continued walking out into the desert at a second.
We did not do either one of those things.
Instead, I crossed into a huge field. That leads to one more field.
That contains bales of old hay that Kory loves to run around, jump on, run across, scare rabbits from.
That leads eventually to four old potato silos that long ago fell into abandoned disrepair.................
The Twin Buttes and BLM fire station, each covered by a light, smoky haze.................
As I slowly and absently wandered through the fields I alternated watching for rattle snakes and looking out over the buttes.
Even though the buttes were visible, the mountains to the north and west were still completely hidden by the smoke.
It has been close to two weeks since we had last seen them.
Kory - as always - ran her joyful run and I watched my goofy mutt, enjoying the sight of her and envious of how simple her life seems to her.
She is fed, watered, exercised, loved.
There are vols to kill, and bunnies to chase, and life is good.
Life is so simple in a dogs' world....................
The silos are one of only few outstanding features in this tiny town and I continue to love the silent geometry of them.
I was in no rush to walk hard and fast, and no hurry to head home, and so I continued to absently wander. Enjoying the silence, Enjoying the emptiness. Enjoying the aloneness of walking only with my dog and seeing only my dog.
I need a lot of alone time these days.................
She jumped around and on the silos and chased rabbits.
She climbed onto hay bales and then chased rabbits.
She ran through the tall grass and chased rabbits.
She deeply joyful at being embedded in the wonderful world of climbing, jumping, chasing and running.
Me walking but feeling..............what?
I'm not even sure anymore................
By the time I had circled around to the front of the potato silos I looked around me, scanning the area in search of my dog.
Normally I watch her closely as I make my way across a silent world.
Always wary of what she will get into - voles and moles and owls (oh my), deer, rattlesnakes or simply wandering mindlessly in the opposite direction to our direction of travel (always with head high in the air and I know that she has caught the scent of something intriguing).
On this day I had been lost in thought and had no idea where she was.
Calling her name, I already knew that if she was too far away she would not be able to hear me, and that if she was on the trail of something she would choose to ignore me.
I walked back the way I had come - away from the silos and headed towards the huge hills of long-abandoned hay and that is when I saw her.
Jumping around on the ground and hay bales, her excited, jerky movements telling me that some little unsuspecting critter was having a hard time of it..................
Rather than being annoyed with her I decided to patiently wait for her, and I watched my girl in mild and quiet bemusement as she continued to follow her nose.
Eventually I called her name again, and I watched some more as Kory sprinted in my direction..................
He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others--the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by the midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad..........Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated............