We tottered and stumbled through the maze of roads that all looked a lot like each other, and twisted up on themselves like they wanted to go nowhere. After awhile we found the trail, which looked a lot like the not-trail we’d been hiking on before.
Mom was just coming back from checking the woods for a better Wagon hiding spot when a pair of aggressive headlights pulled over from the other side of the road to get a better look at us.
Some runs are a grind where every mile gets stuck in your brain and rattles around your body for whole lifetimes before finally seeping out the bottoms of your paws to be forced out one step at a time. Other miles get left behind without you even noticing, like a sock Mom drops on the way to the laundry room.
Knowing how to open a cheese stick wrapper or drive a car to a trail comes with the responsibility of having to choose the trail over the cheese stick sometimes, even though no one's forcing you. I'm glad that I'm a dog, because responsibility sounds hard. I would hate to have every cheese stick ruined by the doubt that maybe I should have run up a mountain instead.
I hung back, hoping Mom would change her mind, but she marched on without hesitating until we were standing at the bottom of the taco-shaped hole in the rock where someone had left half a dozen metal rings hanging like earrings from loops drilled into the rock. Then Mom unveiled her plan...
What keeps pulling us out of our Stuck House to wander through this part of the country is that it's easier to appreciate what we have when Mom doesn't have to worry about all the responsibilities of having stuff. Things like hot poop juice in Mom's dented cup or turning the heater to sauna mode after a cold hike make us feel more wealthy than all the fancy City espressos in the world.
After driving only a few squiggles, the white dirt stopped acting like it had been dropped there by accident and started to lie on the ground possessively like real winter.
“Oh look! A dog’s been here!” I said, marveling at how snugly my own paw fit into the print. I sniffed at them. “He smells very handsome.”
His words were long in strange places, like he was trying to sing but his tongue kept tripping over the words. It was the kind of accent that sounded like he would use the word ‘dad-gum’ a lot.