Words, I realize, do not do enough, but I wrote this essay over a period of time, my dedication to our loyal hound and companion Sandy, who we said goodbye to in May at fourteen-and-a-half. It was published today at Whole Terrain, a journal dedicated to reflective environmental writing. Here is my dedication to a loyal friend and trail companion.
A man stopped his red Ford pickup beside me as I was pumping air in the tires. I had my head down trying to get the bike setup quickly so I would had a good two or so hours on the long canal trail at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, before I pedaled back with the orange sun fading beyond the everglades. “Pardon. How far does that trail go?” he asked.
It has been cooling in the afternoon, and six p.m. hikes have become a wonderful reward when I can get away from the writing and grading papers. It was towards the end of such a hike last week when we came across this Great Blue Heron. I stopped to let Sandy cool off in the pool running over from one of the brackish creeks at Oleta River State Park. I looked up and saw the heron:
I was sick for ten days, and the whole time all I could think about was getting better so I could lace up the hiking boots or clip into the bike pedal. Today was the first day I felt somewhat normal; I think I was about seventy-five percent recovered, which is good enough for a little hike around the nearby nature preserve.