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I am sitting under the cover of a tree, my back up against the trunk in the perfect crease of a rock. We have hiked through the rain down to Kelly Creek, me and the dogs. It has been raining for the past week. The creek is looking more like a raging river. I tell Halo he cannot play in the water; it is too swift. Of course, he wades in anyway. We strike a compromise. He can splash and dig in the shallows where the water is calm. 

Siku is unsure of my tactics. He doesn’t mind hiking and playing in the rain, but sitting? He tucks his wet little muzzle under my arm. He can only sit still for so long before the call of the woods draws his attention. He will come back periodically and lay at my feet. Those moments between sniffing out wild things and barking at turtles. 

Halo barks to get my attention while he continues to splash around in the safety of small pools well away from the rapids. He wants me to watch. Siku pretends to tree a critter in an attempt to impress me. He does this sometimes, barking at the base of some tree like he just chased a scared wild thing up the trunk, the creature barely escaping with its life. I call him a faker.

The sound of the rain bouncing off the leaves and the rushing water drown out the sounds of the nearby highway. We are in a wooded oasis far away from all civilization. Terabithia is real, but it didn’t take a bridge to get here, just a short hike and an enveloping rain. Water is dripping down my collar. I am slowly becoming saturated. I rise from my perch to go splash in the water with Halo. I call off Siku, the intrepid hunter, who is viciously spraying spittle all over a box turtle he has found in the damp leaves. I distract him and hope in our absence the turtle will slink away, disappearing into the leafy forest. I pray a train doesn’t come by and spoil our magical hidden world, drawing us from our reverie. 

The day is beckoning with dry clothes and warm drinks, but we refuse to hear its call. Out here, right now, there are no deadlines or bills or…anyone…it is just me and the dogs and a small patch of woods by the river. We are free. 

To live would be an awfully big adventure.“  —Peter Pan

Amy Gravlee