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The Long Walk Home

On The Path

School was out.  I would meet him on the path.

Halfway.

I could see him, standing there.  He didn’t have far to go.

I waved.  He didn’t.

“Come on,” I shouted.

 

He didn’t move.

I could see his face, from a distance.

“What’s wrong?”

Then I heard it growl.  Behind a tree.  It barked.

I walked faster.

It barked again.  Advancing.

I could see it.

The dog was small. To me. I smiled, not realizing I had been holding my breath.

It posed no threat.

But he was small, too. So small. To him, the dog was big. Huge. Terrible. Mean.

I stopped.

The menace was between us.  He would not pass.

He looked at me for help and shuddered.  I could see his eyes well up.  The sob was uncontrollable, involuntary.

“It’s just a puppy,” I said.  “He won’t bite.  You can make it.”

He didn’t know that.  He wasn’t sure.  To him the threat was real.

Sharp teeth, bared.

I closed the gap.  I challenged the foe.  I vanquished the demon.

He held my hand as we walked home. His little body shook with sobs he tried to hide.  We didn’t speak.

That night, with some time and distance, he told me about the monster.  It blocked his way.  It threatened his life.  It captured him and wouldn’t let him go.  It was too big, too scary.

I saved his life. He said.

I laughed and held him on my lap. I sang a song to help him sleep and went to bed.

I dreamed.

The way was dark.  The threat was real.  I could not pass.  I felt the violent sob shake my soul.

You can make it.  I heard him say.

I wasn’t sure.  I didn’t know.  I couldn’t see the way.

In the dark I reached out.

He took my hand and we went on.

Thanksgiving Sunrise

7:45 am, 28 degrees, Thanksgiving morning, 5K run. I was the designated photographer as three of my children dragged me out of bed to take pictures of them running. Annual tradition. Most all of my family converged on our home for Thanksgiving. With so many people staying in our home, there hasn’t been much sleeping going on. I stayed up way too late. I was tired. I was cold. Then, the sun came up. The light hit the mountain tops and I thought about all the places I have been in the world this year, how many frequent flyer miles I have accrued, how many Marriott points I have, and, I was glad. Glad to be home. Home where the cold November mornings chill my breath. Home where the sun shines more often than not and the summer sun shines late and long. Home where my pillow fits my head and my bed has an indentation just my size.  Home where my children come for Sunday dinners. Home where the sun rises over the Wasatch mountains to the east and Lone Peak Mountain lies north. Home, where I’m never lost and always loved. For these things and more I give thanks.

Lone Peak, Wasatch Mountains
Early morning sun shines on Lone Peak, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.