I know from experience what happens when you have love in your heart: the more love you give away, the more you get back. Mom explained to me that money is not like love. Apparently, once you give money away you have to work to grow some more for the next thing that you want. The great thing, though, is that limited money can be converted into infinite love when a stranger uses it to reach out and tell a stray that they're valuable, that they deserve the same opportunities as the other kids, and that someone cares.
I was adopted, and it was the best thing that happened to both me and Mom, but mostly Mom. We want to repay our good luck by helping other strays find the same kind of love and security that we have. Mom is "allergic to children," so we can't bring any home, but there are other ways to help. Instead, I have committed to raise money for Mountain Circle Family Services, which runs programs so that the stray people puppies can learn leadership through fun adventures a lot like those that Mom and I enjoy together. Just like Mom loves me, keeps me safe, teaches me about the world, and takes me to explore, Mountain Circle provides the same kind of love to the people puppies until they find their forever home.
“I’m not worried about hikers. There are cats that hide in these trees. They jump down and before you know what’s happened, they've grabbed you by the head are dragging you into the bushes to eat you up.” “Oh! I love cats!” I said. “They are great fun to chase! I hope one drops on me.” “Not these cats…” Mom warned. Mom gets so scared of the silliest things.
The trail turned out to be an easy 7-mile flat route that followed a happy river through the pine trees to a waterfall. “Isn’t this great, Mom?” I said. “No dirt roads to get here, no mountains to climb, no big trees blown over the trail, no dog-boiling weather... Just a nice, easy run through the pine trees.”
The thing that had turned Mom into a a cream puff was that there was a perfect waterfall falling from right above our heads. It was small enough that its roar wasn’t scary and you could look at it all at once, and it spit a mist into the air that made the air sparkle. All around the waterfall were shiny rocks with bright green furry moss decorating them, and next to the big waterfall were smaller blue ice waterfalls. On the ground there were giant chunks of ice that were perfectly clear and looked like soccer-ball-sized diamonds. We were in a fairy land for tough people, like that elf city in Lord of the Rings (obviously, I’m Legolas and Mom is Gimli).
It took a couple of miles, but eventually reality caught up with Mom when the white dirt started sucking up her legs like a couple of pieces of spaghetti. Every time she tried to climb out of the hole, sluuuurp, her leg would get sucked back in up to the shorts line. On each one she let out a roar that was a little bit like a gladiator going into battle, and a little bit like someone whose leg was being bitten off by an alligator.
Mom! The things you come up with! Snow is a SUMMER thing. I have lived through four winters and never once has it snowed in the winter. It only comes out on a warm day in the mountains. I've seen snow like half a dozen times, so I'm an expert. Obviously, the mountains grow snow in the summer so that they can stay cool and don’t get a sunburn. Haven’t you been paying attention? Any idiot could figure that out.
I could smell something big, and there were recent tracks in the snow that looked like deer hooves, but were way bigger than any deer’s feet I’d ever seen. I remembered about the flying tampon last night, and the mystery of all the big things on top of the mountain yesterday, and concluded that there must be all kinds of giant things roaming in these hills.