“The only indispensable item I pack (on a backpacking trip) is a capacity for amazement,” says Beldon Lane in ‘Backpacking with the Saints’ p. 91. For a moment upon meeting the my house guest husky Kemah, I was amazed. She is large, black and white and has beautiful blue eyes. Her soft hair has been groomed recently and the gentle spirit she showed a little feisty Taz dog was her badge of tolerance.
Kemah was rescued two years ago after being found in a field, matted, and starving. How anyone could abandon this kind hearted dog was beyond understanding? She is loved and well cared for and shows just a slight sign of apprehension to my husband as he approached her. He wisely backed off and waited.
Kemah tasted freedom for the first time in two years at the Lake when she was allowed off leash. I tasted terror as the husky instinct arose and she took off down a path to hunt. I was running after her as her “momma” cannot run. I sent the little dog after her saying “Go get Kemah!” Taz has a capacity for understanding human speech that is sometimes freaky. I was calling her loudly on the deer track trail.
Kemah rounds a corner and I lose my hope as I lose sight of her. She has not left the city or been off leash in almost two years. Kema was being a normal exploring husky. Taz kept on her trail. After a few minutes, that seemed much longer, Kemah stopped, looked back. She saw her new little doggy friend, but I was too far away to grab her leash. Kemah was thinking, “That new woman is yelling at me.”
Panic in her eyes. Where is my mom? Decision made. She ran past me on the trail to get to her human momma and I could breathe again.
There were a couple more times she tried letting Kemah off leash in a more controlled environment. Kemah had never been in a lake before. That looked really fun. Kemah does not like cats. She found a cat at the Lake and circled it like it was a baby elk she and her non-existent pack were going to kill. Kemah had never seen a fence with large holes. Under a barbed wire fence she goes to explore the other side. Luckily there were no cows around.
It was terrifyingly fun to watch her capacity for amazement as she rushed to an adventure. When will I recapture my joy for the unknown? The first time on a new trail always leads me with a bit of primal fear of survival.
Sometimes, the new diminished hikes for me are not as much fun. I am trying to live with Kemah’s joy at the littlest things. Blue skies. Red birds. Deer tracks. A Spring day. It is enough to take along amazement at nature’s capacity to surprise.
“People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Mark 7:37 NIV