A flash of tan dissolves into dark earth
my dog friend gone, led astray by his nose
seeking the scent of a rabbit.

I call and call
my fear bouncing off ponderosa trunks
their sweet vanilla suddenly grown sour.

“Lester, Lester come back!”

But the forest stays silent—
no clinking of tags
no pant of breath.

I turn and turn
look deep into the foliage
calling, calling
tears rising in my throat.

Lester is gone
and so am I,
both lost from our master.

Silently, I chant my mantra
but my attachment
fizzles the connection.

Instead of my Beloved’s image,
I see Lester alone in the forest
in the dark of night.

A lion tracking him.

Lester is wily
but not fast.

He is a hunter or rats and rabbits,
gophers and flies.

He is easy prey.

And I am too now as I call and call
seeking that outward solution,
his butterscotch coat snaking over fallen logs
into my arms.

But he doesn’t come
and light has left the forest,
now a shifting maze of shadows,
so I can barely see the trail.

I climb onto a rock and call
“Lester, Lester, Mister Lester.”

I listen,
hear distant traffic whoosh
like an ocean
but no paws step
no brush bends.

Lost to the sound of my Lover’s voice,
I am vulnerable to the lion inside me
the predator that steals my eternity,
my safety, my love.

All expansiveness is gone.
Instead, I am just a body
seeking a dog
under a sickle moon.

Until I let go and know:
this is his perfect teaching.

He too is eternal,
with his own crucial lesson.

If he is to die by claw or thirst
to learn to honor his master
in the next round…

So be it.

If I am to die by loss,
the ache of his absence
so I never release
my Inner Master’s hand…

So be it.

All are opportunities.

Every moment a teaching,
even that tear like glue
binding me to You, Beloved.

So we can fly in the freedom
of Your love
knowing that we live beyond this flesh and forest
beyond the heartache of loss in this great
rushing and still infinity.

And then…
movement in the distance…
a flash of tan that grows larger
as it trips among boulders
and weaves between trees.

“Lester, you’re here!”

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