It was all meant to be the other day on my hike! I was alone that day and challenging myself to a tougher trail up the mountain. I hadn’t done that particular trail for a while, at least in a year; but since my friends couldn’t join me, I decided to try it anew. The challenge was looming large in my mind at this, the onset of a new hiking season. So I took my own challenge and started up the mountain. After about two-thirds the distance to the top, I met up with a young man who was accompanied by his nine-month-old German Shepherd pup. They were stopped for a moment, hanging out on the trail which had narrowed considerably by then, as it becomes a series of switchbacks leading to the top. So there they were, nice guy and adorable puppy! I greeted them both, one with a “hello” and the other with a hand, which was promptly licked enthusiastically. After our moment of greeting, I sort of waited for them to head on in front of me, as by that point I was ready to stop for a rest! The hike was getting steeper with each new step and much rockier as well, and going even a few feet upward was challenging.
So I followed along as soon as they headed on up the trail, and realized quickly that the sweet, young dog was going to keep watch on me. From there on, that puppy was a guardian and watchdog, noticing where I was in regards to where he and his human now were. I felt instantly included in their group, although I had never met either Brian or Clancy before. Suddenly, here I was joined by two males for the rest of the way up. And I was glad, as I soon realized that Brian would give me tips as to where I should veer and in what manner I should progress; all while Clancy the dog would adamantly sit and refuse to move until I caught up with them! It was a great hike in the end, as I felt protected and guarded, by two souls I had never met before.
It reminded me that although we often undertake our endeavors alone, we can connect with people and even animals in truly profound ways! I’m not sure I will ever see either Brian or Clancy again, but I do know for a fact that if anything had happened to me while hiking up that trail or back down again, both would have helped me out! I know for certain that for the first time back on that more difficult trail in a long time, I had protection and companionship! I was not alone or on my own. And isn’t that the ultimate reason we’ve all been plopped down here on the planet together? Aren’t we all meant to connect and to relate to one another through our humanity, and with our fellow creatures? That one day of hiking held for me a lot of meaning in what was happening on the trail and in my heart. It felt wonderful to be so enveloped by hearts both human and non-human! Now I can return to that trail again soon, confident that even without my male guards and companions, I can do it just as I did it the other day! And who knows? Maybe I will again run into those gentle souls who watched out for me and kept me company.