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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Forever Young

I participate in a daily dog photography group, and today's prompt was "Forever Young". It seemed to resonate with some of the feelings that I had during our desert trip. No one is "forever young" unless they die young, and that feeling was fostered by how much I missed K during our trip.

All of us veteran dog lovers know that the days of young puppyhood are fleeting even in a dog who lives a full and long life. Before you know it, your puppy is grown up and beginning to "age". And, far too soon, you must say goodbye to your "puppy", after their life has sped by at warp speed.

I thought about the fleeting nature of life frequently during our trip because we visited places that where K had visited as a small puppy and then many times during her life. I have so many memories of K in those places that visions of her dance before my eyes when I'm there.

Yet, at the same time, Shyla is in those fleeting and wonderful days of being a seemingly indestructible young dog, who wants to run all day and acts naively goofy. These are the "good old days" for Shyla - the days of romping with no pain and boundless energy. She is young but no one is "forever young".

So, for today's "Forever Young" photo, I took one that had Shyla's bright eyes burning out of the pine forest's shadows around sunrise this morning. The shadows represent the dark side to the notion of "forever young" while her eyes and happy expression show that she is truly young.
Throughout our desert trip, Shyla and I mountain biked together most mornings, having a blast exploring places new to Shyla. Here was our gear lined up just before a ride one morning.
Shyla wears K's old boots, which we discovered are too big for Shyla's paws (literally but not figuratively). They look like clown shoes when Shyla gallops in them so we'll be buying her a new set before our next trip.
She and I explored the nooks and crannies of red rock canyons in the mornings before it got too hot. Shyla adored hopping up on boulders and "posing".
I didn't let her run all day, although she would have loved to. I took longer jaunts on my own, while Shyla hung out in camp with the boys. This photo is from one of my long rides, up to a big butte that is shaped like a ship. My bike looks like a tiny toy.
Then, we'd hang out in camp for the afternoon. When we spend a lot of time relaxing in one spot, we tend to notice the cool nature stories going on around us. At this campsite, a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks had four nestlings stashed in a hole in the cliff wall opposite our camp. I didn't have a strong enough lens to photograph the actual nestlings but we could see four small white chicks through our spotting scope.
The parents would hunt in the canyon nearby. One parent liked to sit atop a spire on the cliff's highest point.
We were there for a few days. Most days, the parents would make numerous small kills throughout the day, bringing them back to the nest to tear apart and share with their offspring. However, on one day, a parent killed something much bigger, perhaps a hare, and the family spent all afternoon eating it.

We watched hawks raising young in the same hole a year ago. However, the chicks were much bigger, and there were only two. Last year, the chicks would execute a scary maneuver to relieve themselves, hanging their tails over the edge of the hole to avoid soiling the nest. We'd hold our collective breath hoping that no one fell out from their hole about 300' above the ground. This year, the chicks weren't ready to do that maneuver yet, and their parents were still disposing of their waste.

After watching nature for the afternoon each day, we'd go for an evening hike, enjoying the coolness of the approaching sunset.
Then, we'd watch the sun and then the moon set to the west of our campsite. The moon was a tiny sliver but the rest of the moon glowed softly, making a beautiful sight. A bright planet hovered just above it.
I think that our love of taking adventures around the west partly stems from the fact that we know that none of us is "forever young". We all want to make the most of the "good old days", and each day of vacation is one. Although my heart literally hurt at times because I missed K so much, I threw my spirit into young Shyla and older brother R, letting them live their young days to the fullest.

You only live once.


  1. I love your attitude KB!!! I imagine that Shyla and R help to inspire your joy in the moment. Love each of your photos-you are so gifted. I was riding last week but didn't give myself enough time to get back into shape and found I was getting shin-splints. Ugh-guess I need to take it slower. You always inspire me to want to get out and live life more fully. Sending hugs to you today.

  2. Beautiful KB!

    Forever Young is such a beautiful song and sooooo reminds us of your sweet K.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  3. Just beautiful! I feel like Nola is growing up too fast; she'll be 3 this year and I literally can't fathom that.
    Nola;s Mom

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  5. Life is to short so we need to enjoy it, young or old or somewhere in-between!

    Have a great day.

  6. Words so true.A beautiful place to remember K and her adventures, her love of life, and to see Shyla learning to love those same rocks and trails. Hearts can literally ache with sadness,K will know this so well. Lovely bootees, she is "growing" into K's footsteps day by day. Fond greetings, Jean.p.s. Did you see Gary's beloved Boomer has crossed the bridge? Such a sad post, reminding us all of life's fragile hold,wishing it would last forever.

  7. Sweet KB
    We want to hang onto all these words and photos that you just shared with us- FOREVER. Your speaking heart,, has reached inside us- we think and ponder,,,,and feel.
    I am seven now- so my family hangs onto your words like a road map to guide us along our every day journey. Thank you for sharing your moments with us,,, beautiful photos,, and the last one with the moon- oh my gosh! It says "K" forever!

  8. Great shots of the desert canyons, KB. I also like your philosophy.

  9. A beautiful post that strikes cords in my heart and memories too.

  10. These are such moving photos. None of us is forever young...I too am haunted by memories while watching our young dog enjoy his health and boundless energy. Thank you for the reminder to live every day fully.

  11. Once again, your photos just leave me speechless...beautiful!

  12. Shyla definitely has the face of "Forever Young". Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Happy Memorial Day

    Anne and Sasha

  13. What a sweet and moving post, KB. As Ellie's 10th birthday approaches, I think more and more about how time passes so quickly. And I have to realize how precious our days together are. Part of her getting older makes me sad. But that feeling leaves quickly when she comes to me for a quick reassuring pat or scratch. Or she brings me two tennis balls in her goofy way. You are right. Live life to the fullest.

  14. A post that touches my the shot of the silly Shyla. Priceless. enjoy each and every moment.

  15. Everyone else said it better than we could, especially dear Tweedles. I can't believe Bert turned five this month. Oh to cling to "Forever Young"

    Berts My Vickie

  16. Love love that happy face of Shyla. And of course all the rest of the photos were simply beautiful.

  17. beautiful shoes ... ;-)) makes a lot of fun to look at the photo .. great area because it makes sure huge fun to take trips with dogs and biking ...
    regards Frank

  18. Once again, you have our mom in tears, KB. What a beautiful post and gorgeous photos!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  19. Shyla will always have that forever young face. The boot photo is priceless!
    Benny & Lily

  20. Hi Y'all!

    The problem is so many people neglect to enjoy the path they travel and stop to smell the roses.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  21. Wonderful post, KB, with lots of good learning in it.

    I am in love with your last photo, the sunset, moonrise! Just excellent!


  22. Once again, your beautiful photos are matched by your beautiful words. Our beloved Isaac is 12 now and sleeps around the clock (except when he thinks of FOOD -- he's still a lab, even if he is an old lab!), and yet in spite of his slow body, his spirit is still just as young. He's as happy as the day we first brought him home.

    We should all learn from our dogs just how to enjoy each day as much as we can since all we have is right now. And I firmly believe that as long as we remain young in our hearts, we will be young forever!

  23. Puppyhood is all too fleeting. You are wise to honor it.

    I'm so pleased to hear that Shyla is growing in confidence. You have done a remarkable job with her.

  24. Beautiful said. I bet K was thinking of you too. :) So glad Shyla is there for you. I know how much it still hurts. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Lovely post, great pictures, always nice to visit your blog


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