We are lost. Well, at least I am. Aki might know exactly where we are but she won’t share. It happens each time we try to find this meadow trail. To reach it, we must pass through a thicket of alders and shore pines. Deer paths crisscross each other in the tree tangle. Only one delivers you to a trail that cuts across the meadow to a small, rocky rise.
Passing through the thicket is like being spun while blindfolded at the beginning of pin the tail on the donkey. When the spinning stops, you have no idea of where you stand in regards to your goal. For Aki and I, our goal is the cross meadow trail. After emerging from the thicket, I have no idea of how to find it.
The little dog and I wander over an unfamiliar section of the meadow. It gives like a sponge. When Aki tries to find more stable ground, she ends up having to splash through a pond covered with floating moss. After that, she takes charge. Following her powerful nose, she starts off in a direction that I would never take. Every few meters, she looks over her shoulder to make sure I am following her.
Relieved to have some direction, I follow her lead. In a few minutes we reach the good trail and follow it to the rocky rise. After a brief rest, Aki leads me off the rise and down the meadow trail. When she veers onto a faint deer trail, I follow to the end, where a deer had died. Time has reduced the carcass to fur and bones. Aki reluctantly agrees to follow me back to the main trail. Believing, probably falsely, that the balance of power in our relationship has shifted back to me, I lead the little dog back to portal thicket.