Saturday, December 7, 2013

jay peak with dog

Today's Reverb prompt comes from Alana Lawson. Alana writes:

“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.”— E.S. Bouton

There are so many “precious things” that are presented to us each day; discoveries and treasures found in simple moments, memories we wish to store in our hearts and keep with us forever.

What precious things have you gathered in 2013?

Which memories from this year do you wish to keep with you always?

“I don’t want to go hiking!”

This pouting complaint was uttered by each of the four kids in our rented house in East Burke, Vermont: our two kids, and the two children of our good friends, Joshi and Noah.

It was our fourth day in the Northeast Kingdom, and we had been blessed all week with gorgeous weather. This meant that we were spending a lot of time on our bikes, as our rental was within biking distance of Kingdom Trails. The older kids were (mostly) thrilled with the epic bike rides; the younger ones put up a bit more of a fight.

On Wednesday, we woke up to rain, or drizzle, depending on who you asked. Someone suggested that we drive up to Jay Peak. From the road, it was just a couple of miles to the summit (never mind the grade). We could do a “quick” hike, and then surprise the kids with a trip to the water park at the Jay Peak Resort.

None of the kids responded with enthusiasm. The grown-ups insisted.

On a whim, I decided that we should take Zina, our very un-Lab-like Chocolate Lab mix. Given the choice, Zina would prefer a quiet quarter-mile walk to a hike. I had tried to take her running with me, and had been met with resistance, sometimes right in the middle of a run, sometimes miles from home.

But, I didn’t want to leave her alone for the day in a rented house. I decided I’d hike with her, and when she was ready to turn around, I would turn around with her. Given the collective mood, we probably weren’t going to make it to the summit, anyway.

Zina, it turned out, became a focal point of the hike. The kids forgot about the misery of their tired legs as they encouraged Zina to “keep going!” She responded to their cheers with an energy that came from a place I hadn’t seen before. The kids helped her scramble up difficult sections, eager now to reach the top, despite the slightly chilly rain.

Zina, formerly known as Diva, formerly known as Daisy, formerly known as who knows what, is a rescue dog. She came up from Alabama on a transport truck last January. She had been in a shelter, and was a stray before then. Before that, someone had clearly loved her a lot, because she is gentle and sweet and came with an impressive repertoire of tricks, including “roll over.” But it was clear she hadn’t gotten a lot of exercise, and, at least in the beginning, found our usual level of activity a little bit annoying. So, seeing her conquer her first Green Mountain summit was very gratifying. I knew that it wasn’t about the peak for her; it was about staying with her pack. But in her desire to keep the pack intact, she had become the leader: the kids’ joy in watching our couch-potato dog hike to the top was reflected in the pride they felt in their own accomplishment.

These two photos make me smile, not only because of the “glory” of the day, but also because of the deep sense of affection I feel for these kids, these friends, this place, this dog.


Elizabeth said...

Yay Zina.

Do you know what this reminds me of? Back when I the kids first came to live with us, I found this website (I am going to google in a second to see if I can find it again) of a blog written by a mom who canoed a lot with her toddlers. I remember reading that they ... what's the word where you do long distance canoeing and you have to carrying the canoe overland? PORTAGE! They did that too. I read that right after the kids came and I though "Holy mother of god the things that people ACTUALLY DO with kids!!!!" I always think that when I listen to your family stories! Thanks...because it encourages me to try them too!! And now with my dog too..
(May be her: blogs all look a lot shinier than they did back then!

Kat McNally said...

What a special day, for so many reasons. x

tricia said...

Thanks, ladies.

Elizabeth, I do remember that blog--you did email it to me at one point, I think. We should get our families together for some of these adventures.