We met another full-timer today.
Bridget, Spike and I walk down the dirt and sand road that goes past the water trough when a guy on an ATV comes along and stops. I’ve seen him before and we’ve exchanged waves. I introduce myself and the crew.
He tells me his name is Bob and his dog’s name is Boswell.
This is his last week camping at North Ranch before heading back to Wisconsin for the warm months. Bob lives fulltime in a fifth wheel with slides. It’s funny how many topics two strangers can cover in only a few minutes after meeting for the first time. Fulltiming always makes for easy conversation.
All the time we’re talking Boswell sits patiently on the ATV, gazing off into the distance.
I place my hand on Boswell’s back. He slowly turns his head and looks into my eyes. In that instant I sense a wave of – I’m not sure what to call it — steadfastness? peace? serenity? I stroke his head and face while his black eyes hold my gaze. What is it about this dog? Bob is talking, but my focus is on Boswell. This is no ordinary dog.
“My twelve-year-old Golden Retriever died last fall. I got Boswell at the pound. He was going to be euthanized. They said he couldn’t get along with kids,” Bob explains. “Of course, the kids were bothering him.”
“He’s a wonderful dog,” I reply as I continue stroking Boswell’s silky fur.
“Everybody up at the park (North Ranch) loves Boswell,” Bob reports proudly.
“I can certainly see why.”
“Well, I’d better get going. His fur gets hot in the sun, although he doesn’t seem to mind it.”
Before they leave I ask if I can take a photo of Boswell. As I watch them ride away, I still feel the effect of the dog. What an old soul. What a very old soul.
Living alone in the desert bends one’s mind to reflection.
We walk back to our camp. I notice the paw prints of the crew next to my footsteps in the sand as we retrace the path home.
I wonder about Boswell. My mind wanders.
All that humankind has accomplished, the discoveries, the subatomic to the cosmic . . . .
Here we are, thumping our chests, prideful of our scientific knowledge and the depth of our religious experiences, and yet, the older I get the more apparent it becomes that we hardly know anything at all.