Switching Roles

When she was a puppy, Aki would travel at least twice the distance as I on our daily walks. I would stick to the trail. She would wander back and forth across it, usually at a run. The little dog, now the age of a granddame and I have switched roles. 

          This morning Aki sticks to the trail across this mountain meadow as I wander its margins looking for cloudberries. She doesn’t follow me until the distance between us exceeds her comfort level. Nearing that point, I turn around and see her, four paws planted firmly on the proper trail, giving me a look of incongruity.  She doesn’t flinch even though heavy rain is soaking into her fur. Seconds later she trots up to me just as a gang of six large dogs run head on into a family with their own dog.           

Through the rain I watch the confused, very loud meeting. There is yelling, barking, more yelling, and then apologies. When things calm down, I realize that Aki has kept her eyes on me the whole time. Was she worried that I would join the fray? 

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