In early November I took the dogs to a forest preserve that we had not previously explored. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I was excited to walk through the woods and see what we would see. Just prior to our walk, I had finished a phone conversation with a friend who just a few days before had received an unexpected, devastating health diagnosis. I didn’t know it then, but this would be the last time I spoke to her. The following day she was moved into ICU and put on life support. It is all so hard to understand.
After I hung up the phone, the tears began to flow and somehow in my heart, I knew things would never be the same again. As I looked down at the dog’s eager faces, I figured a walk in the woods was exactly what I needed at that time.
I let the dogs lead the way and surrounded by the fresh air, the blue sky and the sun shining through the trees, I began to feel the peace of the moment take over my emotions. We were the only ones out there and all that I could hear were the leaves crunching under our feet and a babbling stream that was out of sight. By the time we found our way back to the car, my heartache had eased a bit and my head felt clear.
We’ve gone back to this place a few times, and just like that first experience, I am able let go of all of the things that are on my mind. I never shared this place with my friend, but when I am there I can’t help but think of her. Each time it gets a little easier as I remember the tiny moments we shared. Things I had forgotten that somehow come flooding back when there is no one else around aside from my dogs. It’s a place we all enjoy and I consider it a retreat from all of the stresses that swirl around as life goes on.