How will I ever climb these rocks again without you?
How did we even climb today, knowing as we picked our way over each root and around the deadfall, that it would be the very last time? On a good day, when we're both feeling amazing, this hike winds me. I lean against boles on the way up and you circle joyously, looking for things to flip and sniff and taste. Today, my heart and lungs are exploding. I can't pull in enough air; I can't stop the hammering through my bones. It hurts. You're a little slower than usual, but there are still things to paw and nose and tongue and it's just as exciting. It hurts. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.
You don't know this is the last time. It's a gift that I can give you, even as it empties me to do so.
Each time we've climbed, I've felt stronger, better, more whole. You've lead me on this long journey to heal my body, and I've given you the edges of my soul to wipe your cold nose and keep your ears warm. This is our place. Up and down, every time we've sat at the top of the world to rest and watch the birds fly below us and the sun wrap around the edge of the Earth, we've both moved forwards. Closer. I want to stay up here forever this time. We'll rest here, forever, and we'll get better... so much better, and closer, and stronger, that when we're finally ready to move on, nothing at all will be able to stop either of us. Only I know, the only thing that can stop you is already in your blood. I can't help. My edges are tattered and ineffective. You don't know, don't mind me being a bit ragged, and the birds delight you as always. It's as perfect as I can make it.
I will forever be grateful for this moment and this place even as I want to scream and cry out into the blue.
I will never be able express the happiness and grief that roll over me in turn. For you, there's only happiness. Would that we were all so lucky. And so we sit, as long as I can bear to, as long as we have light in the day to do so, and we watch. We are. You rest. I cry. I take photos as the sun arcs through the few trees clinging to the mountain and I cling to your joy and try to stand as straight. I try to imprint this on my being as strongly as I can, so I never have to be without it. It will never be enough, but not having it would be unbearable. How can it be so wonderful and horrible to love this much? To climb rocks, to flip and sniff and taste, to get closer. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.
I'm never going to be ready to let you go. I already have, out onto the wind.
Life changing; heart expanding: your time here has had purpose. My time with you has also. I see it in your eyes, and somewhere in the middle of my heart's supernova, I am content. But if I had a choice, we'd stay here forever...and we'll get better. So much better, and closer, and stronger, that when we're ready to move on, nothing at all will be able to stop either of us.
These photos and words are my own work, inspired by travels all over this pretty blue marble of ours. I hope you like them. 🌶️