I am often amazed by a dog's ability to quite literally immerse themselves in an experience. They can completely let go and enjoy whatever is in front of them. Whether it's a cold, rainy day in the woods, or a startlingly clear beautiful day on the mountain, our dogs always seem to know how to let go and enjoy- whatever the circumstances.
They're just happy to be out there on an adventure with us!
I sometimes find myself, even out in nature, going over to do lists, wondering how long a hike will take, or thinking about the summit rather than all the small steps along the journey. I think it's human nature to project ourselves to where we want to go in the future, and unfortunately miss a lot of the hidden gems and nuances resting in the present moment. Many hikers keep a list of mountains they want to hike, and measure these accomplishments by feet or meters climbed, number of mountains, or maybe even the overall time it took them to hike these places.
I can understand the reasoning behind documenting progress, and setting goals, but it has always felt a bit backwards to me to do this in the realm of hiking, where the whole goal, at least for me, is to go out and explore somewhere different and enjoy everything that place has to offer. To forget myself in the beauty and grandeur of something so much bigger than my lists, and times, and measurements. To just let go and enjoy.
I really think this is one of the biggest lessons dogs have to share with us. The destination is essentially meaningless, it's really all about fully immersing yourself in each step of the journey to get there. The more you get to know somebody or something, or even a place, the more you start to see all of the subtle cues and secrets that person, thing, or place has to offer. You begin to form a bond, and a knowing with one another. This is the kind of union I want with the animals I work with, and also the places I adventure in. I want to understand them, to see them in all their different shades, and to really know them and form a true connection.
I think dogs see and find this connection everywhere they go, and it is truly beautiful to be apart of! How lucky we are to adventure in the sanctuary and serenity of nature with one of her most beloved 4-legged-guides leading and showing us how to connect more deeply with everything around us.
What connects you to nature? Do you think your animals bring you closer to people, places, and things in your life? We would love to hear your thoughts!
Hope you and your mindful guardians are feeling connected to the beauty and peace that is always available to us <3
Val & Lewen