To step out into a darkened landscape opens the mind to thoughts and observations that may lay hidden at the back of the mind or be obscured by the overload of information that seems to accompany daylight. Within my wanderings I have been blessed by the company of quiet companions. The dogs enjoy their freedom, being away from people, roads and livestock they have no need of a leash. As we travel they choose their own position and excursions away from the pack. This often shows their standing within the pack and reflects their own personalities.
Sadly we lost our top dog in early autumn to an infection. She had walked the paths with me for nearly a decade and a half and this had amounted to thousands of miles over the years. I find I still look for her in the gloom, her white colours were always well ahead of the pack leading the way. On occasion she would happen upon a rabbit and the chase would begin heralded by the scattering of undergrowth and her shifting form and route through the trees. With two creatures evolved for running at speed the chase was always spectacular. Luckily for the rabbit her instinct was for the chase and not for the kill, her quarry gave her reason for speed and a demonstration to the rest of the pack.
On our wordless travels she had given me many lessons to learn and a different perspective to see the world from. Nature is the finest of teachers and to learn requires a mind that can drink deeply from all the senses and scenes before us. Over the last few months the pack has adjusted to our loss, our youngest dog has taken the position. She now holds her ground at the front of the pack and accepts the challenges and the chase. It appears she has been taught well too.