This morning I was out walking Rachel. She is a magnificent animal who has come from being a dirty, undernourished rescue to a clean, healthy, strong, muscular dog, a truly wonderful pet.  Watching her, I marvel at her agility and her balance.  She is a pointer mix, mostly pointer, who is quite smart and getting well trained. She comes on command, which is extremely important since where we live there are many places to run her off leash.  She has her own mind and will run where she wants. What is most fascinating is watching her go up the really steep hills at a gallop and come down the same way. Out in the field, she will go far away and then run at me full speed, head forward, ears tucked, like a torpedo. Now, she’s a lean machine; you can see every muscle on her as they are supposed to be.  She would make a great running back if only she could carry the ball. Watching her stop and make cuts at will is amazing. Rachel is two years old and honestly we wanted to get an older German Shepherd so the commitment would only be for about a half dozen years.  Well, so it goes; she was kind of thrust upon us and here she is, a wonder, a great source of pleasure and fun.

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Where we live many of the trails are maintained by the army engineers and there are lots of them.  At some of the trails it is understood the dogs go off lead.  At others,  you can do it because they are not much used.

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These are just a few shots from two different places in different seasons.

Rachel running in the woods is in her element and comfortable with being who she is.  Of course she doesn’t think any of this.  She just is and does and is very happy when she is doing what she is meant for by her breeding.  She even points, which is a hoot.  How much of my life, I think, I have spent out of my element, asked to do things I am not suited for or interested in. However, here, writing this and no matter what I am writing, I’m in my element.

Retired at the young age of 65, I am ever aware that every day is a gift.  You just never know if you get another one or even get to finish out the one you’ve gotten.  Trite as it may seem, don’t take life for granted.  Each day I wake up and am happy for being awake, not that things always go my way because they don’t and not that I am always happy.  But as long as I am standing up and breathing and healthy, I’m just great.

I have everything I want in this world, lots of stuff I don’t, and  much more than I need.  It’s a blessing. Lately, I think simple and plain is best, or less is more, as it’s said.  If only I had known this when I was younger!  We’ve gone to a house a third smaller than the one before it, and even smaller might have been better.

I got good at doing some of the things I wasn’t suited for or never wanted to be. Mostly, I got good at them by repetition.  One time, in one of the kitchens I worked in, a big name chef asked me how many boxes of mushrooms it was going to cost him for me to learn to make mushrooms tourne.  I told him he should plan on a lot of cream of mushroom soup for the menus.  I never planned on being a cook but spent twenty years in kitchens.  Ain’t it funny how the night moves.

I don’t have an ending for this.  In fact, there is no ending.  That one story leads to many more but they are for other times.  I’m rather tender and sentimental lately–that’s just a passing observation.  The mushrooms tourne, mine were craftsman-like, correct and competent.  One of my friends who died rather early was a Garde Manger and when he made them they were beautiful. Same for his tomato roses.

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