I had a dream last year, during the time we were losing our soft and loyal black lab, Max, the end of his days a braced denial of what was coming, all of us willing him to stay. I dreamed I was on a high cliff, scary and sheer heights ahead of me, I took a few steps forward and saw Max, sitting on a small ledge looking out over a beach. Walking toward him I could see the cliff wasn’t high at all, it was grassy and sloped, the surf below alive with people and braving birds. I woke up and knew he had already decided, he was going.

That’s where I am. I am already going, on a slope that I fear is a drop off, looking toward the waters edge, my waters edge. Last night, twisting in the unknown of it, I thought of that dream, and him. He beckons me there, this soft and loyal dog, to live forward toward the light and sun of what’s coming, not in the regrets and loss of what has brought me here.

I don’t know how to go forward Max, but I trust that dream of you, looking steadfast and sure, knowing what was coming was meant for you. Leaving when you wanted to, needed to, throwing love back over your shoulder like sand kicking up under your newly young paws.

I am between learning and having learned, a suspension between the two tiring shores of water worn stones and sharp new rocks catching my feet, the beach ahead of me alive with wildness.

I have believed that wild was frightening, the untethered truth of who I am a dark and cavernous unknown. I’m changing my mind about that; it seems the thrashing part of me is the most domesticated, the strictness a noose of perfection that tightens in the twisted trying out of it. The wildness in me is calm, easy, a quiet seat both back and in. I’ve mixed them up in my beliefs, the avoided wilderness the home of true silent bravery.

It’s time to make my way to the wild waters edge, knowing what is coming is meant for me, and knowing the resistance of it is part of the unrested exhaustion that keeps me afraid of these heights. Max, my softly beloved dog, I’ll meet you there.

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