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Today was one of those cool, crisp, clear prairie days where one can see almost forever, and the surrounding hills and valleys and mountains were the most beautiful that I can recall, since moving here four or so years ago. 


In other words, a was a perfect day to walk Giordi (the white one above) and explore the magnificent prairie, with him as my eyes and ears, augmenting and enhancing mine, of course.   Giordi is apparently more perceptive than I am, as he is constantly seeing new things which would never occur to me to view, since to me the path ahead is often seemingly more important than the surroundings through which I pass.  I am increasingly beginning to question that thought.


And so that was my first lesson for the day:  I am learning much from Giordi and Tucker, especially when I pay attention.


As we proceeded, I zigged and zagged, rather than going my usual straightforward way, and later we came upon a favorite spot of mine, a promontory of sorts, where I could look out and see the prairie in its magnificence for almost 360 degrees, all sparkling, crisp, beautiful, and quite stark in its lovely stunning loneliness.  Giordi came up alongside me, looked out at the same view, and turned to a specific point across the way about a mile or so, to a hill where there is a house of our neighbor and friend Becky where she lives with her black dog Tucker, who is our dog's best canine friend.  Giordi seemed to be transfixed, looking over there at Tucker's house, and I knew he was looking for his playmate and best canine friend, as they love to roam the prairie, quite energetically and playfully, and are best friends while being polar opposites in most ways.


I thought Giordi might take off across the valleys and hills toward Tucker’s and Becky’s house, as he often does (I think he enjoys romping with Tucker, rather than sedately walking with me, for some odd reason, and I have reluctantly learned not to take it personally), but he did not move toward that far place, and so we turned and proceeded to go along another path in another direction.


Usually, I have several predetermined ways to go back to our house (it is equally his, and perhaps a tad bit more than equally), and today I decided I would be more like a dog and follow my inner muse and just go wherever I might go without my ever-present thinking and planning, which I did, and ended up in a new place – to me, for today at least – and found it almost magically delightful. 


After a few minutes, there was a commotion nearby, and out of the brush came a big black dog – Tucker – playfully romping and wanting to go along and do some exploring with the two of us.  He had traversed that distance over hill and dale in seemingly record time, and I was quite surprised.  That big black done can really run when he wants to.


And so we all proceeded together, and I went along a path I had not gone before (or maybe I had and I remembered it differently) and we eventually arrived back at the house independently of each other, yet together, interestingly.  The whole walk was somewhat surreal, and I thought I was in an alternate reality, although it the “same old prairie.”   I am increasingly seeing familiar things with new eyes.  I expect I am becoming more demented, or enlightened, and I suppose I should choose the latter rather than the former for the sake of my sanity and my peace.


This sort of thing has been happening quite often lately, and I used to worry about it (along with a lot of other things I no longer worry about), yet the two dogs seem to have a higher intelligence or insight that keeps them out of trouble, with an unerring ability to know how to get back to the house either right before or right after me, just in time so that I do not worry.  I cannot “figure out” how they do this.  I no longer try.  I think that is progress on my part, and help on their part.


They are amazing dogs, like night and day (literally and figuratively) with two completely different personalities, and are best friends.  The black one acts like he is always on amphetamines, and the white one is on quaaludes.  (Yes, I was alive and kicking during the Sixties and Seventies.)  I suppose one could say the dogs “get high on life” as the old hip countercultural term was used.  They seem to take turns roving over the hills and valleys between the two houses (never using the plainly marked and very easy road between them), and they never get lost, and always seem to be energetic, constantly exploring, never going in a straight line, and stop to sniff scents and smell flowers and otherwise represent the ultimate expression of what dogs truly are:  playful and inquisitive.


Occasionally they take their own sweet time, and Liz and Tucker’s human mother, Becky sometimes worry, yet the dogs have never disappointed us, as they always return, right before we think they likely been eaten by “lions and tigers and bears, oh my,” and it always seems to turn out okay, somehow, so far, fingers crossed.


They seem to like to go back and forth between the two houses, over the hills and valleys, and literally eat each other’s lunch (aka “meals”) which their human servants prepare for them twice daily, and seem to work it out without fighting or growling.  I often think they could likely have some interesting things to say in a speech to the United Nations or other public venue, should they be given a chance, have access to a good interpreter, and learn how to wear a tie or other serious garb and smile even when not warranted.


I have learned much about living from these two dogs, as different as they are from each other and of course from humans, yet do not know how to put it into words other than the way I just did.  I have learned more from those two than from many other sources which I enjoy and use to inform and entertain me, and it seems to happen easily and gently.


They are both my teachers, and what I have learned from them is a way of living that illuminates many, if not yet all, of my thoughts, ideas, and deeds.


We should all be so lucky.

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