Sometimes peace is taking an unplanned walk with a pack of dogs by your side. No camera, no phone, just your senses, and theirs. Eyes up, nose down, the flag of a tail behind you. Note the sounds of the leaves, crunching beneath your feet. The piles of milky thistle seeds caught in the black berries, who are in the last throes of berry production. The flock of ravens owning the middle of the field, who require chasing. The lone egret, stalking gracefully in the green grass, also requires chasing. The holes in the black berry thicket which house interesting smells, and more interesting critters. Finding access and crashing through the woods following your nose. Tail wagging with joy. The hound dog always ranging, smelling, exploring, active, giving chase. The big shaggy sheepdog shepard mix preferring to walk by your side, touching you, your hand finding his large back for regular reassurance. The Yorkshire terrier, faithful shadow, nose snuffling every hole, trailing every footfall. And the old cairn terrier, loping a distance behind, tongue out, panting with exertion, but refusing to be left behind. Feel the spirit of the girl cairn terrier, so recently passed, running free and happy with the big dogs, sniffing out rodents, and stopping for wrasseling as needed, always joyful, her tail wagging ceaselessly, her ears up, tongue out, eyes squinting in laughter as she dances, always just out of reach.
See the patches of Judah, growing wild here, the very ground cover you had felt to plant around the house to out compete the burr clover that has infiltrated every part of your life. Reaching an empty pond, rushes and nutsedge indicating the presence of water here, and the dogs show you the quickest, easiest way through. Note the fox scat, full of berries, pine nuts, apple seeds. Pick up turkey feathers, and pennyroyal. Smell. Walk back through the creek. Duck under the barbed wire and realize that the cows come down here. The creek bed is churned up, and cow patties dot the landscape. Pick up pieces of obsidian, add to treasures in your pocket. Back up the hill. Climb into the deep holes in the earth. And just sit. Watching, feeling, breathing, hearing, grounding. The Shepard can't stand you to be in the hole without him. He and all the other animals circle the hole, looking at you, talking to you, sprinkling you with loose dirt and rocks. He finds a way down to you, and licks your face, ecstatic. Find a deeper hole. Sit there. The Shepard is losing it, whining, standing above you, he can't get in this one. Give up, climb halfway out, grab the shepard's collar and use him as an anchor to pull you off the slippery slope. Allow ecstatic kisses. Sit in the sunshine. Breathe. Peace.
Go in the house. Giggle at the snake on the stove, soaking in the warmth from the pilot light. And the enormous worried looking shaggy dog hiding in the tiny trailer bathroom from the evil yellow jackets outside.