Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Are you game?
We were visiting my stepson and family in North Bend, Oregon. The kids were napping so I stepped outside. Georgie and Razzy, the family dogs, bounced around my feet, begging for a walk.
Up the road that looped through the hilly neighborhood we went. Georgie, the alpha matron, ran in front and Razzy followed, nipping at Georgie’s tail like the annoying teenager he was.
I slowed on a downhill, trying to see through the dense foliage to the ocean that lay just beyond, but from the road there was no view or access. Georgie dove off the road into the undergrowth. She turned and looked back at me with a question in her brown eyes: Are you game?
I peered into the gloom to see where she was heading and spotted a small path – well, not a path, really, just some trampled leaves and ferns. The dogs had probably done the trampling. It didn’t look like humans used the route.
Georgie wagged her tail and sat, as if to say that she would wait for me to decide. Razzy plopped down beside her.
I stood in the road. The dogs panted. Then I thought, why not?
For the next half hour I followed Georgie and Razzy through an obstacle course of leviathan ferns, trees and lichen-splashed boulders. At one point, I had to slide down a muddy slope on my butt. More than once I panicked – I’d never find my way back and had no cell phone with me. I might fall or sprain an ankle. Neither Georgie nor Razzy struck me as a Lassie, and nobody knew where I was. I could be in a heap of trouble.
Finally, a blue vista, spangled with light, opened up before us. The dogs splashed into the water of a rocky cove. It was the perfect secret spot. I straddled a giant slick-skinned log and soaked up the scene. I pulled smooth stones and pink-tinged shells from the silky sand and stuffed them in my pockets.
When at last I said, “Time to go home,” Georgie led us back to the house where my husband took one look at my muddy shoes and pants and asked, “Where have you been?”
“On an adventure!” I said.
An adventure I would never have experienced had I not given control over to a brown-eyed mutt and just followed.
I try to remember this often in my writing life. Not everything I need to know will be taught by a workshop leader or a writing book. If I keep an open mind and a willing heart, life will present me with learning detours and unusual guides who'll take me to magical places.
So that's my question today: are you game?