Yesterday, our Great Pyrenees Boone took an adventure. He got frightened by some folks doing target-practice next door and squeezed himself through the tiniest opening under the barbed wire and electric fence at the back of our pasture.
He weighs 140 pounds.
I noticed he was gone within minutes, I think, and took off to find him after sending P a text he would not receive where he was fishing up in the mountains. I had no idea how I’d get 140 pounds of dog back to the pasture. But what I knew I had to do was try.
I took off down the road in the car, a leash in the seat beside me, hoping he was in the neighbor’s woods. No luck. I hiked across our pasture, laid myself flat to climb through first one barbed wire fence and then under another. I stood at the top of our neighbor’s field and called his name.
I could not see a white dog anywhere. 140 pounds of white fluff is quite visible in a winter Virginia.
I returned to the car and traveled down the road behind us, meeting a young family with their dog Snacks and leaving a note at the farm with the donkeys. I pulled into the driveway of the house where they had been shooting and met the great-niece of the woman who was born, lived, and died in our house.
But I didn’t find Boone.
Big things. Scary things. New things. Write a book. Start a new job. End a relationship. Launch a business. Make a move. All of them entail risk, and all of them seem nearly impossible when we begin.
But rewards come with the risks – new friends, a better awareness of ourselves, strength, growth, understanding.
This new year, as you begin again, I hope you’ll strike out on the journeys that present themselves even if they seem impossible. As Shawn Smucker said today,
There are things we will do in this life that will seem impossible. We will start books we do not think we have the strength to write. We will start businesses that require every ounce of us just to begin. We will love people who will not love us back or, even worse, will deliberately hurt us, seek to destroy us. There will be deleted days, months that seem useless, years that pass under a shadow of rejection and pain and disorder.
I hope that if you have resolved to do anything in 2015, it is to try and be brave again, which is not the same thing as being fearless.
By the time P got my message and made it home, I had exhausted all I knew to do and was terrified. Our dog was missing – a big dog that many would fear – and I had no idea how to bring him home.
We trotted toward the back pasture so I could show P where Boone had escaped, and there – fluffy as ever – was our big dog, just on the other side of the fence, trying to return the way he had gone. His adventure over, he was ready to be home again.
Had I known the big guy was just going to trot back, I might have just had a cup of tea and watched for him. But then, he might not have made it home. Maybe it was my yelling that brought him or my scent. Maybe.
Yet, I do know this – my adventure of searching yesterday taught me that I’m still lithe enough to climb gates and wiggle through fences, I’m still brave enough to approach strangers and ask questions, I’m still kind enough to step inside my neighbor’s house and look at the photo of her great-aunt, the woman who loved my house through the last century.
My quest to bring my dog back home may or may not have helped him. But it sure as all get out helped me.
Be brave, my friends.
If you could take one adventure this year – do something that changed your life forever – what would you do?