Spirit Dogs

Depression infiltrated me on Monday morning. It felt strangely novel and dangerous. Nothing was happening, with the writing, with love, with life. Everything was underwater and I had no breathing apparatus.

I had to move. In a bygone era, my big dogs would have compelled me to move, get them romping on the beach, the clearcuts, or atop Cannery Hill. Their antidote never failed to heal me.

But all my dogs were dead. Clyde was gone, too, and Bonnie could barely walk anymore. I had no dogs to instill movement in me.

I closed a book and got up off the couch. I drove to the beach and hiked to a fort with a tin containing fort messages. While sitting on a log, I perused the messages and found nothing new. Fifty yards away, at the wrack line, a vulture tore apart a dead harbor seal. No one else was around. The ocean was flat and gray. Listless. I felt utterly listless.

A text beeped. I almost never use the phone at the beach unless taking pictures of forts. I looked at the text. Two great friends and their two kooky dogs were romping down a nearby beach. They’d found a weird ceremonial candle left behind on a rootwad and sent me the image. They also sent me an image of one of the dogs bounding madly after a ball.

I got up from the log and walked to the car. I drove to the beach where my friends were, parked, and hiked through the dunes to surprise them. I did. There is nothing as uplifting as meeting friends on the beach. Or long lost reunions on the beach.

We hung out together for an hour and I threw the ball to the one dog and watched the other do her funny moseying around. My friends and I discussed writing and beach combing. I laughed a lot and broke a sweat.

The movement worked.

One day I will have my own dog again.