“Love is not about finding the right person, but about being the right person.”
Oh how the days have flown by during this restful break. I am closer to returning to regular activity and yet, the physical break has gifted me time to go exploring and take some much-needed pictures. As the days go by and the moments add up, I find myself thinking about what is truly important in this lifetime and what seems to be central in my life. When I was younger, my friends and I would discuss how love was about finding the right one. And yet, as I grow older, I begin to realize more what love really is and the various places it can be found and how its value can be measured.
The other day, I was invited to the lake by a friend who is a photographer, to take some pictures and perhaps even learn a thing or two from this gifted man. When we arrived at the location, my dog, Jet, and his dog, Sekani, leapt to each other as if to greet one another in a most familiar way. They had never met before and one was older and the other younger, yet this hardly even factored into their thought process. Jet, an aging Golden Retriever and Sekani a young white wolf dog, without hesitation or thought, ran off along the trail. My friend led the way down a steep and winding trail and I tagged along trying to keep up with the exuberance that blazed the path.
I was on the tail end of recovering from recent surgery, so my steps were gingerly made but my senses seemed so alive. The scent of the pine permeated the crisp cold air and the fallen pine needles beneath each step were soft and bouncy, and then in what seemed to be an instant, there in front of me was a most breath-taking view! I came to a most sudden stop and in complete awe, just marveled at the heavenly “Secret” sight before me! Normally I would have camera in hand snapping away, but there I was frozen in the moment as if to allow my mind to download every pixel of rich color and authentic beauty I could possibly store in my organic memory bank. It felt as if I had been re-energized with a mere view of Lake Tahoe! Sekani led the way for Jet in their explorative efforts. Jet had not been to Tahoe before, so this was a new experience for the both of us!
We walked along the trail and rested for just a moment on some rocks as my friend began a quick lesson about photography. I had a hard time focusing on the topic at hand as nature’s distractions were too numerous to count. And then, on the beach below, my eye caught a most surprising site… a senior citizen man leaning against the rock, naked as a jaybird! Yes, there was more to why they call this gorgeous place, “Secret Cove”, then its natural alpine beauty. This shy girl was slightly stunned by the lack of hesitation and amazing confidence displayed by this man… And yet, I found something so organic and relaxed about the image. A sense of ease fell across my mind like a gentle Lake Tahoe wave. The body is merely a shell of which we are, not meant to be a topic of judgment or disgrace… just a vessel to hold the most precious contents, the core of which is our authentic and genuine spirit. How can the naked form not be a beautiful sight to see… regardless of flaws seen and unseen? Just then, I began to smile as the man put on his clothes and ended his time at the beach below.
The camera lesson ended and some giggles were shared as it was ever apparent to my friend that I know nothing about photography! Yes, I did just admit as much! I simply know where the capture button is, the review button and the most important one, the “On/Off” button! With that humiliating revelation grudgingly disclosed, it was time to head to the beach to wait for sunset and let the pups play. Down the steps we went ever so carefully. Jet appeared to be in a complete state of joy as he went to taste the cold and pure waters of Lake Tahoe. As he finished his sip, he turned to look at me as if to thank me in the most loving way for taking him on this adventure. He was indeed a happy dog!
He and Sekani continued to play. Sekani, being more agile and more experienced than Jet, leapt from rock to rock, as if it were simply her nature. Jet, would watch in admiration and longing to do the same, but his spindly and elder legs simply could not keep up with her youth and agility. My friend had stepped out on a boulder and called for me to follow. As I climbed up, I could feel a tug of pain, but tucked it away quickly when I saw that the view from above was as mesmerizing and distracting, as could be!
Before I knew it, Sekani had followed and Jet stood in the water trying his hardest to find a way onto the rock. Part of me was hopeful he would accomplish his goal and the other part envisioned a wet dog deciding to shake the water off vigorously if he made it! I furrowed my brow with a bit of concern. At that moment, Sekani leaned down and touched nose-to-nose with Jet, as if she granted him a loving canine kiss letting him know it was ok. Dare I say, I smiled that despite not having climbed the rock, Jet had experienced a loving moment that perhaps he had waited his entire life for and that was worth the tug of pain to witness!
A step back down the rocks and it was time to rest myself on a boulder, while the pups joyfully played!
The sun had signaled the start of her long Goodbye and my friend presented me with a sage bouquet as an offering to the powers that be. It was explained the sage would be lit and the wishes, hopeful prayers and good thoughts would be offered up in four directions to the powers that be. It was time for the flame to touch the dried sweet sage and the smoke danced to the heavens. The instruction was to blow gently on the bouquet to encourage a deep orange glow. With two hands, this girl stood and held steadfastly the thick bundle of sage made with thoughtful care and now aglow in the nighttime air. The thoughts how they escaped my mind, bequeathed to those not seen to find. A patient, shy girl lent a prayer for snow… a prayer for peace… a prayer for love… And on a gentle breeze her words were messaged to the heavens on secret sage smoke swirls… With a heavy sigh and lightened heart, a smile how it emerged.
The purple sky and the fiery glow illuminated her friend, who did the same. You could feel the energy of spirits not seen, how they gathered to bear witness to the sacrifice by two earthbound spirits that yearned for the heavenly liquidity to fall to this thirsty, dry terrain. After time had passed and the sage had lost its flame, the cold set in and the time had come to end the day as it had begun in the dark embrace left by the setting sun.
Jet and Sekani were snug in the sand with neither wanting to leave… alas, Jet had learned of another lesson today… that all good things do have an end. It is in enjoying the time we have in moments like this that truly matters. Just like the rising sun, the ending flame of the sage, a day of naked sunbathing or a kiss he didn’t want to end, all good things eventually come to their close… it is in holding close those memories and relishing the feelings and emotions that they evoke that we remember the love that created those remarkable moments.
It was time then, to call upon them both to rise and lead the way back up the trail. Just like that and as two new companions might be, they playfully leapt to lead the way… both a bit tired from the excitement of the day no less wanting to savor every minute they could. They were 2 inches away and then 2 feet apart, always within eyesight of each other and yet, they didn’t “need” to be inseparable to be feeling the love from the other. It was in that moment that I played back the highlights of Jet’s adventure, how he was confident enough to meet a new friend, not afraid to admit his faults of not being a rock climber, and yet still not aged enough that he could chase Sekani around… and in the end, he made no apologies for his short-comings, but rather was joyous to have had the opportunity to have met her. And in that moment it was ever clear that we would leave and Sekani may never see him again…. Both learning in that adventure shared, that love is not finding the right companion but in being the right companion.
Having learned another lesson about the power of love through the eyes of a canine companion…
Wondering what tomorrow will bring….