On Retreat

On Retreat December 1, 2014


It’s humbling how fear can rearrange our eyes. This piece describes a personal example of this.


On Retreat

Walking from my cabin through the frosted grass, it’s very quiet. The meetinghouse is on the hill. From the field below, I see a dog on the steps. I don’t have my glasses. It looks like a Rottweiler or a Shepherd. The old fear returns. The dog is off leash and no one’s around. I think about heading back and waiting till later. The dog looks my way. I’m not sure what to do. Its ears perk up. I keep climbing the hill; keep telling myself: that was then, this is now. I’m not the same person who was so afraid. But it comes back so easily. I climb the hill like years gone by till I come in view of—where else but—Now. As I get closer, it’s clear the beast is a small mutt. I feel relieved. Cresting the hill, I can see it’s Charlie. His old white face comes into focus and he recognizes me as I do him. He begins to wag his tail and waddle my way. I feel foolish and stoop beside Charlie, nuzzling my face in his.


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