Partnership is so vital a thing. In work, play, love; it’s the pulse of life. The value of this bond is magnified in any adventure, be it climbing, long hikes or marriage. If it's a challenge, and the stakes are high, and failure is just as likely as success - a good partner is gold. Long days, tense moments, tough decisions, tears, defeats, crummy meals, orange sunsets. These are ingredients that create bonds that spice all of life. More clearly than in my youth, this is what I seek. I’ve written about this before, but now my thoughts turn to another partner who has taught me a lot, and been through ups and downs with me. She keeps teaching me as she ages and she is always full of joy - my dog Mica.
With all the challenges faced by so many people, maybe it is indulgent to care so deeply for a mere Labrador. Lots of people have a touching story about their dog. So be it. I'll share it because it means a lot to me. We’ve seen her whole life in what seems now like such a short span. Our lives are longer, our reference is different. To her, I modestly hope, it’s a long, perfect life, lived day to day, without much thought to the days ahead or behind. I hope to think the same, some day.
No one, not anyone on this pale blue dot, is as full of simple joy to be outside as Mica. Snow, water, trails, people, squirrels, tennis balls. The wonder of it all. Never a shrill moment, no matter what. No matter what. So many shared days, long runs, bubbling creeks and good naps. That's a gift to me, and to anyone that shares a smiling partner through it all. She is the source of light that will shine on my days long after she’s gone. A smiling partner, nothing is better.
Now she’s blind. She limps. She can't run after a tennis ball anymore. She bumps into things, and sometimes gets scared. But still, she lights up with the smell of pine, and rolls in the grass on her back with as close to a broad smile as she can muster. Oh, the joy of wet summer grass. I hear her breathe each night, beside our bed, and feel blessed.