The hike puts a pant in our hearts, leaves us with soil, sweat, and grit on bits of skin few hands can publicly reach without blushing a little. My soles and toes sizzle when I plant them unshod on moist soil. My lips (with a wicked old grin) sigh the delight covering the flesh of my feet. My hiking buddy barks at a squirrel that pays him no mind.
Before the sun can twilight the tips of treetops, I pitch our tent. Firewood isn’t difficult to find—my tree sisters don’t mind sharing their dead bones with a soul who cares for their green.
With shelter and grub set for the night, I peel off my threads and run skyclad for a dip. My pup jumps into the stream first (bark and splash, bark and splash). The river is cleansing bliss. It removes dirt, too, so I scrub myself and the pup. Too soon, my pup strolls away yawning… leaving me to swim alone and to grin at the woods on my own.
white pup in the woods,
lies in shame