Luna has grown tired of whimpering around the little fire I’ve made; in dog years, it’s been a whole 10 minutes. I reluctantly pull my gaze from it’s crackling undulations; to keep going, to, for fuck sakes, keep up! I find the largest slab of rock and tug it from the freezing November earth, it breaks free the scent of the damp soil beneath, where it has yet to succumb to the encroaching winter. I carry it up the hill, dropping it on the fire, looking sideways at Luna as her tail wags.

“Alright,” I blow into my cold fingers, “We can go.”

With the last word she zips around in circles, jumping up as a crazed beast would, and takes off, barely in my sights within seconds. She never strays far,  when I catch up she’s waiting by the lake, the wind and violent waves have curbed her usual insatiable urge to jump in. Her tongue is hanging from her mouth, her eyes as hungry as my heart. The light is coming through the cedar, oak and pines, twinkling through the remaining leaves, beckoning through the wind-rattled needles, “come”.

I take off like a rabid creature, a 20 pound pack on my back, as I look over my shoulder to catch the glee in my Luna’s eyes; they light up, warmer and brighter than our pittiful fire. It takes her body milliseconds to get wild; her muscles take flight instantaneously, her claws grab the earth, she races for me hard, and passes me quickly. This is a good game.

Running, barreling, mimicking her precise reckless abandon, leaping over rocks, roots and fallen trees, weaving through the cold creaking trunks and branches, faster and faster until the wind whips hard at my eyes and the tears fly off the sides of my face. I’m laughing wildly, my warm breath mingling with the brisk air, huffing, puffing until my lungs long for stillness.

I stop.
Luna stops.
She looks at me like, “you devil! You were just shaking off the human, let’s go again!”

So we run.
We leap.
We climb.
We hoot and holler until losing the trail, we find ourselves in wildness.

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