Updated: Aug 2, 2021
“ For over two hours, we tried to find our way back but could not, instead coming to dead ends of fallen trees or thorny brush. “Sorry, pal,” I said, down at Luke."
We walked through the woods behind the cabin and past the sea of downed, thin fallen tree trunks, our usual point of return. A path opened and we followed it up the mountain, Luke running ahead to sweep the ground for tracks of deer and bear, but never out of my sight. Small explosions of practice gunshots went off over the trees, louder as we made our way to the top and down to the other side. Luke moved closer to me but continued walking. “Good boy,” I said to him, reaching down to stroke his ear. “Don’t let your fear ruin this for you.” The path was overgrown but still showed the dark, sunken swath from a truck. At the bend, a gate and a farmhouse, so we turned around. The overhead mid-day sun cast a speckled show of tiny rays of light through every branch, and the outline of our path now disappeared into a thousand leaves and twigs. For over two hours, we tried to find our way back but could not, instead coming to dead ends of fallen trees or thorny brush. “Sorry, pal,” I said, down at Luke. He looked happy to be lost in the woods with me, and grabbed a stick to play, turning our crisis into a moment of fun, and so easily. I laughed. “Let’s ask Krishna for help,” I said, and we sat on a log together while I chanted. Luke stood up and began walking back down the hill to where we had turned around. I followed him to the gate, then under it. We were standing on the road to the cabin, five houses away. I leaned over and hugged him tightly, thinking not just of our morning, but of the last six months of feeling lost and afraid. I pulled the little necklace from under my shirt and kissed it, closing my eyes tightly and feeling the hot sun on my face. “Hare Krishna,” I said, and smiled.