Alone In The Wilderness

"It is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it."—Ranier Maria Rilke

Days off go by too quickly if you let them. Sleep in, fritter around in sweat-pants-ville, and by the time you're done walking the dog it's time for happy hour, now isn't it? But this week I didn't want to do that. I wanted to do something different.

I suspect that some of you who drive up to Mt. Hood frequently won't think it's any big deal, but for me, this trip was a mission. An hour and a half by car to the Trillium Lake Loop. A mission! Anyway, it's hard to know how long a "loop" is going to take—especially when everyone else you meet out there is cross-country skiing. No swishing regally through the forest for me, and no coasting all shaky-legged down the hills …  just a steady plodding through the snow on my two feet. It took a while—several hours. And it was very quiet, especially at the mid point where the trees cleared out and you could sit right there on the rim of the lake—just a big, frozen meadow, really—contemplating the mountain.

I brought a lunch of bread and cheese and crunched on it while Lefty did donuts of wild joy around me. He's an animal, after all—at his happiest in the wilderness with the feel of his paws ripping the snow. Indeed, he was so happy that he made me happy—and that, right there, is why you wanna have pets in your life.