Do you remember being eight or ten years old and, after some dispute with your parents, running away from home? A BB gun, maybe a sandwich, a flask of water, and that beloved dog who would never leave your side went with you. Remember?
It is strange that as we grow up and age, some part of ourselves remains that child who made a decision that there would be no more dispute, no more tension, no more bullshit. Those who stick it out are lionized and admired by any who know of the turmoil. I think not; I have decided to admire and to emulate those who say, “No more bullshit! I’m not accepting any more of it, and I wish that I never had done.”
I ran away again. No BB gun. Instead of a sandwich, a grocery list. Water I can get from the tap, so I just keep a few growlers of craft beer on hand. I have had several beloved dogs in my life, and not to have a canine friend in my life would be unthinkable, so I have that beloved dog who never leaves my side with me. At the moment, she is sleeping…at my feet as I “write.”
The grocery list almost always includes food, treats, or a toy for her. If she were invited, she would share other grocery items with me, but I do not allow her anything other than the skin of the chickens that I roast or purchase whole from the store. She shows no interest in the beer, but she likes going to the pub with me. Things in my new home are civilized, so that in many places, dogs accompany their families to destinations forbidden them elsewhere. Good for here!
The days are warm, but not hot, and the nights are…cool, at best. Nights can be cold, even though winter has not yet come. I like cold nights; there is nothing as uncomfortable as being too hot or too cold when one has already run away from much that has made one comfortable for many years. The reward for enduring the cold nights is a sky filled with bright stars that look as if you could touch them. The days are equally magical, many days being absolutely cloudless. Even when the day is less pristine, the result is often spectacular, as if to make amends.
Almost every day, we are visited by wild creatures. There are several species of ground squirrel (they appear to me to be different species, and are reluctant to interact between communities), large hawks, the occasional eagle, geckos warming themselves if the daytime temperature and sun allow, deer, and, perhaps best of all, coyotes. These are not the scrawny urban coyotes that my former neighbors used to despise while still marveling that they would choose to live in urban or even suburban areas. No, these guys are big boy (and girl) coyotes who tolerate human presence without fear, and perhaps with a hint of disdain. I think that they probably do not despise us, but they DO seem to marvel that humans choose to live among them. Maybe they think that all human beings are useless yuppies and hypocrites. Hell, it’s possible that I just followed them to this place; they appear to disapprove of bullshit in much the same way that I do. I don’t know, I suppose, but I like them, and I like knowing that they are nearby. Sometimes they sing to us at night.
Here is the moral to the story: I won’t be coming home this time; I…make that WE have run away forever. We live surrounded by magic, we like our lives here even if there is much that we have had to leave behind. At the very least, we have left bullshit behind, and if we chose to leave behind some that we would have kept, we can take comfort in one another.
These are the words of Ojijaak.