Two days ago I took Kestrel out on her own down to the beach.  It was dinner time and I wasn’t sure if the beach would be busy, so didn’t want to take more than one dog.  It seem to be fine to let the dogs off-leash on the beach but I like to keep them close and under control.  The more dogs I have with me, the further they tend to range from me.  So I just took Kess and walked down the lane.  Here’s the view from the bottom of my driveway (not bad, eh?!):

Once down at the beach, I discovered why it had sounded even closer than usual that day.  The wind was strong, and the waves were huge!

Three to four foot breakers are too big for the dogs to swim in.  Heck, I found them intimidating.  The shore drops off suddenly right where they break, and I worry about undertow.  The local kids all seemed to enjoy, but I decided just to walk along the sand.

Kess at first was also intimidated by the waves.  But they sure were beautiful. The roaring was like a freight train, constant, loud and powerful.  The spray was intense.  The sun was warm and the water refreshing.  We walked and walked.

Soon, Kess started playing a little game with the waves.  She’d go down to the water’s edge as close as she dared, trying to snatch floating twigs and whatnot out of the water.  Then, as a wave would loom overhead, threatening to crash on top of her, she’d turn and scamper to safety.  It was hilarious!  She quickly had me laughing wither her antics.  In fact, she was having such a good time that I started playing her game too.  The waves were fast and tricky, we were faster.  Most of the time.  Sometimes we got caught and soon were were both soaked.

By then I started to loose my fear of the waves as well, and Kess and I started running in the waves and wake, chasing each other, splashing around and otherwise behaving like two little kids.

Did I mention I was fully clothed?

I’m sure people thought I was nuts.  Or maybe not.  Big surf on a hot day does funny things to you.  I lived by the ocean for 5 years and walked Jake on the beach nearly every day.  Being with Kess brought that all back – the joy of being young and silly, the infectious energy of the ocean (lake in this case), the possibility of adventure.  The emotion soon overcame me and I found myself surprised by tears.  Cleansing tears, with the cleansing water.  I ran, I laughed, I chased my dog, I jumped in the waves.

I have said since day one that there is something special about Kess, and that evening made it clear what it is: Kess is an adventurer.  She wants to explore the world at my side.  None of my other dogs have this.  Ross and Mira want security and safety, Hannah wants to work.  Kess alone is an explorer, along with my cat Liam.  I have always thought that Liam was the closest to Jake’s energy of any of my pets, but I’ve felt Jake’s presence very strongly in Kess since the moment I laid eyes on her.

Jake and I did a lot of exploring.  Together we traveled through British Columbia, Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and well over a dozen US states.  We spent months at a time, living out of the car, exploring the American Southwest or the Eastern Seaboard.  Jake was always up for a roadtrip, alerting me to watering holes in the desert where I would join him for a swim, again fully clothed.  He’d look where I pointed and watch the scenery as I drove.  He’d entertain himself collecting rocks while I took photos.  With Jake at my side, I didn’t need anything else to feel at home.  I felt that again, for the first time in over six years, sitting on the beach with Kess.

This is the reason I have not been able to let her go, and after our adventure in the waves I know she is meant to be my partner in my next adventure.  Whatever that may be, I’m not sure.  But it is coming soon.  I feel that I am at a major turning point in my life, although I can’t tell you what it is.  But I feel a very intense energy about me these days.  I feel calm and strong, more so than I have in years.  It feels tenuous, like I have to be careful not to slip back into the negativity that held me captive for nearly a decade.  But I won’t let that happen. I can’t.  There’s no turning back now…