The hounds and I met up with friends this weekend to go camping. This would be their first time. They are 16 and 14, one is completely deaf and the other has very selective hearing. Our friends brought their one year old rescue pitty who has the energy of a crack addicted toddler. It was going to be his first time camping too.
I got in my car and when I hit the road in the direction of Lake Houston Wilderness Park, I was almost a little sad when I realized it was only 52 minutes away, but I also felt my heart start to feel that release like when opening the window to feel the fresh air after being cooped up all day. I was headed for the nature and to sleep under the stars and that's what I needed.
As soon as we arrived, my friends were there and ready to greet us. Their very strong, very active, very playful pup went straight for the 16 year old lab who was just gaining his land legs again after that car trip and splat, down he went onto his belly, all four paws in directions that were not the original direction they were meant. My 14 year old littleish one went to step in and showed the pitty who would be the boss of the weekend.
Tension and anxiety instantly consumed the air. We caught up on where to pitch our tents and my hounds found their footing again and decided to instantly mark the entire 100 square feet of forest that was ours for then next 48 hours.
I set up a tent for them to rest while I set up the tent for which we would sleep. They wouldn't rest, they weren't sure where we were or who the other people were or why that other dog wouldn't stop crying. Thought they couldn't hear him, they could sense his separation anxiety.
From inside the tent to walks around the campsite, it took so much additional time to settle. So many new smells, one scent that hasn't escaped them at all. The smell of trees losing their leaves, and camp fires that once were and the charcoal that currently was, peppers cooking on the camp stove in addition to all the scents that critters before us had left behind.
But when it came time to crawl into our tent for which we would sleep, everything settled. They nestled onto their beds, next to me, the big one with his head on my hand while I snuggled into my sleeping bag and laid on my side. And there, the sounds of the children playin in the campsite over quieted, and the discussions between the pine trees began to fill the air. I listened to the subtle snores of my sweet old and loving hounds, the brush being disturbed by animals of the forest and to my own heart beat.
And once again, I was reminded that what makes it beat inside my chest is me, the body for which it supports; the love that I give fills it with warmth; and the love I don't get in return hasn't taken up any space or encouraged it to keep beating or not. Once again, I re-grounded into mother earth and into the space of loving restlessness. For I have things to do and success to find and failures to learn from and my mind isn't restless from worry, it is from the new sensations of all that is possible that I can see ahead of me, for that optimism is a sense I too have not lost as I grow older too.