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Darkness

Do you ever wonder where the adventures rest while you’re at work? This morning, Mom and I went to find out. We left The City after work and drove along the smell of the ocean until the lights went away and were just tiny twinkles in the distance. Then we stopped the Covered Wagon and slept with the sound of the ocean cheering for me like a million far-away sports fans and the rain falling on the Covered Wagon like a million far-away drummers.

photo287829We woke up in the dark like a normal work day, but instead of our normal boring routine, Mom opened the Covered Wagon door and we walked into the dark unknown. Mom usually looks at the far-away when we hike because humans want to do as much at once as they can. But how can you enjoy the subtle fragrance of week-old rabbit pee, or the tangy scent of a vine of poison oak if you don’t stop and sniff it closely? If you try to smell all the pee spots, crotches, and dropped trash for miles in one giant sniff, you’re going to miss something. Because we couldn’t see, I followed my nose from one sight to another, and Mom followed me with my spotlight on her head so that she could enjoy only the things within smelling distance, and everything further away was gone in blackness. Down below us we could hear the beach, and in the air we could feel the fog that was snuggling up to the mountain above us. We could smell the ocean mixing with the rain that pulled out all the other smells, but except for what was in my spotlight, we couldn’t see any of it.

photo287729“Do you mean that this has been hiding tucked under The City this whole time, while we’ve been running in The Fart for hundreds of mornings?!” I asked.
“Yeah,” Mom said. “Makes you feel like a bit of a fool, doesn’t it?”
“I’m not the fool,” I said. “The route planner is the fool.” Then I had a brilliant idea! I asked The Fool, “Mom, can we do more work day adventures?”
“Well, that was the plan. Except after just a couple of runs I hurt my knee. And starting next week we’re not even going to be able to hike for at least 2 months.”
Two months is like… 527 days! “What?!?!” I barked. “Why?!”
“Well, I need to get my knee put back together if I ever want to run another step again. A surgeon is going to tie the pieces back together next week, but then I can’t put any weight on it for a few weeks or else I could rip it apart again. I’m going to have 4 legs, just like you!”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” I said. “You don’t get 4 legs just so you don’t have to walk on one of them. You’re doing it wrong.”

As the ground started to make enough light that I could see where we were going without my spotlight or light from the sky, I looked skeptically at Mom’s knee. It looked like it was already connected together, even if it was a little floppier than usual and hung a bit like a puppet’s leg when she walked. “Are you sure that the vet isn’t just having you on so that he can sell you a surgery?” I asked. “Those psychos really can’t be trusted.”
All she said was, “I’m so sorry…”

photo287929I thought as we walked. “But, Mom! What about my fans?! That one time I stopped writing for a couple of months everyone thought we were dead.”
“Well, you can write about what it’s like when you can’t run,” Mom pointed out. “There are lots and lots of other runners out there that are injured and feel like the whole world is going to pass them by if they can’t run for a little while. You can be a life coach again!”

When we were almost back to the Covered Wagon I started to be able to see the ocean, and the mountain, and the fog that had been hiding before, I thought about what Mom said. What advice would I give to another runner that just found out that they were going to miss so many adventures? How would I respond to their hopelessness? so I started to compose my inspiring blog post…

“Dear Friends,” I would write.

Then I thought about what they might want to hear. Probably the truth. “…you may feel like life is passing you by,” I’d tell them. “It is.”

Then they would probably want to hear if there was any hope of living a fulfilling life without running for 527 days. “Abandon all hope,” I would tell them frankly. Then, because people sometimes think that things are going to turn out okay no matter what, I would add: “You’re doomed.”

Oscar the Night Pooch

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