Watching Audrey throughout our relationship has been a massive learning experience, but most watching her the last two years since Isaiah’s passing has been a humbling journey. Watching a mother lose her son, and not just make her way through the grief, but come out healthier, stronger, and more optimistic about life has helped me figure out my own way through this fucked up world. I was balling at the top of Kerby Peak as I took this picture, overcome with emotion as I brought Audrey to the same summit I brought Isaiah back in 2016.
Audrey making it to the top of Kerby Peak was symbolic for me of everything she has worked through as a mother over the last couple of years. I look forward to coming back to Kerby Peak every year with her, seeing how strong she (and me) has become. Like Kerby Peak, the trail for us since Isaiah passing has been full of beauty, switchbacks, rocks, and many other challenges and emotional moments. I am very thankful for being on this journey with such a strong woman, but one that is willing to explore the world with me and make the most of our time left on this earth. I am so very thankful for Audrey.
Alongside Audrey, there is the Poppy dog! This 80 pounds of joy we rescued while in depths of sadness the month after Isaiah passed, only to rescue the two of us. Poppy is the flower that has grown from Isaiah’s overdose, and filters all the sadness and anger we have from all of this into an ongoing stream of joy and adventure.
I can’t articulate strongly enough about how much this dog means to me. She has brought so much joy to our life since Isaiah passed, and she is perpetually teaching us how to live in the moment and find joy in even the littles of things. I hate getting up in the morning, and this dog has me getting up at 5 or 6 AM every morning, even on the weekends. This derpy bundle of love is always excited for a walk, adventure, or just a simple game as we lay on a hotel bed. Like Audrey and Kaia, Poppy dog has a grip on my heart that terrifies me, but also makes all of this worth it, and sitting in meadows and forests with Poppy this week was something I’ll forever remember.
I mean, look at that derpy girl looking so majestic in that meadow. Her enthusiasm on this trip kept me going. After you get your ass kicked day after day from a hike it can be easy to just say in the hotel room, but when you have someone who jumps up expecting a new adventure with every trip out the door, it just keeps things moving forward. Poppy was perpetually leading us in every adventure this week, eagerly making sure she was the first to find whatever ws right around the corner.
Audrey and Poppy are the cornerstone of each day for me, but they made the week so moving and delightful. They put up with me being slow on the trail, grumpy in the morning, and even tolerated that couple of days I had to put in some work on an important project while we work. Accepting that I had to meet other obligations, but then making sure I wasn’t dwelling on work during this important week.
I am not sure that I’d be so brave when it comes to unpacking everything that is wrong with me if it wasn’t for these two (three with Kaia). Audrey and Poppy are why I get up in the morning, and why I got to bed early. The week was extremely thick and emotional, but sitting here at home writing these posts I can’t help but be filled with gratitude for Audrey and Poppy. It scares the shit out of me that I am so dependent on these beings, but in the same motion, they make it all worthwhile. They kept everything moving forward this week, providing the purpose being all the emotional work that was happening for Audrey and I.
I couldn’t ask for two better partners in crime. I love these two with all my heart. They were both so much fun on the road and on the trail, and compliment my approach to living life to its fullest. It is hard for me to go back home and get back to work after a week on the road with these two. My response is to just keep going, but I know better, and I am looking forward to regular hikes and adventures with these two characters. I am most thankful I am able to clear away the brush and baggage around my heart to let these two in, because as much as it scares the shit out of me, it is also exactly what I need to keep powering my time on this planet.