I almost stole a dog this weekend, and if I had, I wouldn’t have regretted it.
Writing requires a lot of sitting and thinking. Trail running requires very little of either of those things, which is why I do it whenever possible. Occasionally, I do it in an organized fashion that requires pinning a number to my shirt and knowing what “negative split” means.
This weekend, I drove up to the High Sierras in Northern California to race under the giant redwoods. I was darting down trail padded with pine needles that smelled like Christmas trees in heaven. All of my limbs were working properly. Life, I was pretty sure, could not get better.
Then I ran into Jack. (I named him Jack.) This is him.
He was running the trail right along with the competitors, as though he, too, had a number pinned to his shirt. I’m not entirely sure who he belonged to; although I suspect a race volunteer. He went for a good three miles with us, and I have never, not once, seen a creature so happy.
Owing to his being a dog, Jack didn’t speak English. Fortunately, his thought processes were easy to discern.
I am a dog! I am running! I love running!
Oh my God, are you running, too? This is the best thing that has every happened!
Run, run, run, sniff tree, sniff tree, sniff tree, pee on stuff, pee on stuff, pee on stuff.
Oh, no! I fell in the creek!
Shake, shake, shake.
I am a dog!
He was so clearly the animal embodiment of joy that I stopped in the middle of the race and made my husband take his picture. Then I tried to stuff him under my shirt and smuggle him off the course.
Dog? What dog? I saw nothing.