Here’s how most of my walk related conversations with Steve, the wiener dog, usually go:
Me: Let’s go for a walk in the field next door
Me: Let’s go this way
Me: C’mon let’s take this trail
Me: Okay, just for a minute
Me: Okay, I’m tired of standing here watching you dig for 15 minutes, let’s go home
And so it goes, I get irritated and finally will use the tried and true ” Are you hungry” to break the gopher spell so we can go home. But there is also a lesson in his tenacity. It is a gift to me to be in the moment. To stand still while he digs, as I watch the little gopher sneak out the other side while Steve’s head is in the other hole. I always try and make sure the gophers get away without him seeing. It is his nature and in his DNA so I let him look for gophers. He is doing his job, and he is good at it.
The gift he gives me is being in the moment, to slow down and observe, look around, notice nature and how everything is how it should be in nature. How it has been for a millennium. To ponder, think, reflect, and observe. To see how nature created these millions of gophers in this field as food for the larger creatures. To see the winged hunters flying above, perched in trees, watching for food. To see where coyotes have dug big holes to get at the little brown furry potatoes with legs to feed their new pups and to fill hungry winter bellies now that the snow has melted. To see how Steve is shaped perfectly for this job, with his short coat, long nose, low to ground body, snaking and bounding through the dry grass, burrs and cheat grass do not stick to him like it would to a furry dog. How he could do this for hours. To think about how I am part of that, how we as humans are part of that, but we forget how we are a part of that.
The other gift he gives is the laser focus of his tenacity, that lets him live and relish right here, right now. A great lesson for me. It brings me back down to earth. That tenacity to stick with that thing he loves, no matter what. So sure of what he loves. This is a large part of my journey, to find what I love, who I am, now that the nest is empty.
And I am so glad Steve is going on this journey with me. So, yes, Steve, gopher….