The dog’s tongue hung out the side of his mouth as the palm of my hand pounded out the beat of a song on the outside of the car door. Windows down, music up, a dusty wind blowing in our faces. We were on our way back to Breckenridge after a short camping trip near Salida. It was a camping trip filled with all the things a girl and her dog could ask for. I read a book for several hours, escaped the rain inside a stuffy tent filled with girl talk and crumpled maps, and skinny dipped in very cold water. We hiked, we rested, we sat around a campfire. We admired the moon, shook our heads at the hail, and crisped our shoulders in the sun.
There was time for eating brownies and at least three cups of coffee and a cola with lots of cinnamon at the brew pub down the road. There was time for swapping love stories and sunbathing with no tops and for popping into an antique store on Main Street. Way out there you notice things like lizards and a piece of ceramic bowl in the the river silt and the exact moment when hot sunlight reaches the inside of the canyon walls.
It’s good to have these friends, who drive all over the state to make sure you get a little adventure. It’s good to have these dogs, who snuggle you in the tent and keep watch when darkness falls. It’s good to have these adventures, to remind us of our freedom, to fill our lungs with joy, to reach up and touch an infinite sky.
A butterfly keeps landing on my head while writing this. I immediately look up the meaning on SpiritAnimals.com. Big changes are on the way, he flutters in my ear, hold on and enjoy the ride. Be joyful, be grateful, be open, he tells me. I smile at the dog, I smile at my freedom, I laugh a big belly laugh right along with the universe. This, right here, this is all I could ever want. Freedom, adventure, beauty, love. And there they are, right on the plate in front of me, good enough to eat.