I woke up to my border collie stretched out on top of me. Her paws batted my shoulders and her deep brown eyes stared impatiently. The trails sat in the early morning light waiting for us. There was no time to waste.

As I stumbled out of the house, tying my sneakers, Jett could barely keep the excitement from spilling out of her black and white furry body. It was time to run wild.

We began, one foot after the other pounding up the hill and away from the walls we now lived in. The city grew smaller as we climbed the mountain, jumping over tumbleweeds and snaking up the dirt switch backs. The ocean of tiny orange lights wavered across the valley, lapping at the distant mountains.

I wondered how those mountains felt as they stood their ground. They stared down the grids of roads and wires that laced up the land like corsets. Humans transformed this wild valley into a sprawling city.

I wondered if they felt like Jett and I as we ran with desperateness. The transition from outside to inside was not an easy one for my pup and me. I could see the disappointment in her eyes when we caught small hour breaks from the house, books, and screens.

A summer of wandering delivered us at winter’s door, thrumming with life and standing our ground against the beating order of school and work.

Jett looked at me with confusion that we no longer curled into the back of pick-up at night or bathed together in wild rivers. We both missed the 12-hour days under the sun, when she watched the forests as I took clients down raging rivers. We both missed the purity and simplicity of living outside by firelight.

I tried to explain that this was the way it had to be. In Jett’s typical dog logic, she looked back with sassy disappointment. Her eyes said she expected so much more from me than one hour a day. Jett was not happy with my life decisions.

The clouds wrapped around the mountains as the sun fought to come up. My breath came in short bursts. We stopped and sat, staring out into the city.

The light was back in her eyes. We could both feel the wild in our bones waking up. Jett licked my face, and we both knew that this hour was keeping us alive.

We knew no matter how distant the memories of summer became we must always find time for this wild hour in our days.

Our feet turned around even though both our hearts pulled us farther into the woods. As we ran back home, Jett barked at the sky and I sang at the top of my lungs. Until next time: there was work to be done, and the lights of the city had faded into a grey daylight.

Guest Contributor

IMAG0027You can probably find LJ Dawson in the rocky mountains or in the red rock deserts. She spends her days in the sun and nights under the stars. Missoula living and Colorado grown.