Hike
 
Here’s a bit more about Giordi.  He is our dog (more accurately, we are his people) of several years, a sweet white muscular four-year-old dog that we rescued from a South Korean kennel where the dogs were being raised for their special organs, which were once considered an aphrodisiac and delicacy by older South Koreans.  He had literally spent the whole first year of his life since birth confined to a cage in a facility with many other dogs, occasionally being washed with hoses from outside with food thrown into the cages by his handlers.   It was one big building filled with dogs in cages being fed from outside the cages with daily hosing and removal of their droppings.
I mean no judgement nor virtue signaling here, only that we fell in love with his photo via the internet, and through a rescue organization arranged his transport to Oregon, where we lived at the time.  (Warning:    Do not try this with Real People.)  I was very concerned about all of this, expressed it often, and was voted down by my wife.  This is not an unusual outcome.
Ultimately, we went to the local shelter to see him after he arrived to find him  surrounded by loud, barking, whining dogs, as he lay peacefully on the concrete floor.   He looked around toward us as we entered, gazed into our eyes, and of course you can guess the rest:  Love at first sight, both ways.
 
I of course was naturally totally opposed to the whole thing, but my wife insisted, in that way of hers that indicates “I’m right this time, as usual”, and Giordi has changed my life forever over the past three or three years.   He is my model for humanity:  peaceful, curious, sweet, active, and naturally the most wonderful dog in the whole world (along with all our previous pets).
We were fortunate to be able to move to a rural area in the southwest (Santa Fe’s prairie) over two years ago with Giordi, and our cat, Bella (solid black, so it’s easy to tell them apart), and are surrounded by relatively rugged yet mostly open space, with few neighbors and many acres to roam in virtually wild surroundings.
Today Giordi and I had our customary walk through this area.   As a city boy, and even with having had a fair amount of outdoor and - daresay - wilderness experience, and being able to roam “wherever” and have no fear of being lost or attacked (other than an occasional pack of coyotes, who only want to be left alone, which we are eager to do), it took a while to get used to being “untethered” from the marks of civilization.   Today I took a different way, and Giordi did his customary run so that I could no longer see nor communicate with him – normally an upsetting experience for me – and I found myself, while not lost, uncomfortable with where I might go to get back to the house.
We came upon a very old and rusty barbed wire fence, from who knows how long ago, mostly down on the ground and barely supported by crooked and aged weathered Juniper tree poles, and Giordi promptly jumped through and ran away.
The old city boy came out in me, I panicked, Giordi was gone, I was lost, and thought:   The only way to go is forward (not my usual impulse).  So of course by now you will guess that shortly after, we came out in a place we knew, quite near the house, leading to several epiphanies (I’ll leave you to surmise what they were), learned yet another lesson, and realized:  Life Is Good.  Sometimes even Useful.  Especially if you Take Thoughtful Risks.  And one might even learn Something.
I ask the Reader to forgive the pedantic wording, and put your Self in the mind of a seventy-six-year-old male who finally realizes that it’s okay, has always been okay, and will always be okay.  (Not my words, but those of a close friend and mentor of mine.)
 
Upon returning to the house, and just as I opened the garage door, my cell phone rang (yes, I’m a “belt and suspenders” sort of guy in the wilderness) and it was my old friend and mentor (whom I shall henceforth call Adam, which is of course not his real name), with whom I am sharing this writing as it happens on almost a weekly basis.  Adam wanted to know if it was okay to get my wife’s phone number, just in case he ever wanted to reach her.  I of course thought that he realizes my death is imminent, and he would want to know when it happened, and this would be the only way to find out.  Please understand that he has never asked for this information in the many years I have known him, more years than I have known most of my other current friends.  Naturally I said yes, we ended the call, and I am as usual baffled by how things like this can happen.
Today there was another misunderstanding with my wife (meaning an unexpected interruption in the ongoing placid life I like to lead) and I questioned whether life was worth living.   By now The Reader will begin to see a pattern, although for the life of me I can’t figure one out.  But I will persist with this writing and see what happens.
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