Lakoda Raven took me deeper into his realm and the ways of the earth than any other four-legged companion. His exuberance was contagious. A distant traveler and far walker, he was unwavering in his delight of wilderness and his untiring desire to lead me further and further into the forest. He knew that earth has a wisdom. He gathered ground and heard the stirrings underfoot. He showed me the sacred ways through the old animal trails; we bush whacked in dense understory; and we ran the woods roads. Purposefully vigilant, he was captivated during what I fondly called our ‘collecting expeditions.’
He was always a lead dog encouraging me on into the familiar and the unknown. What his nose knew of the natural world mine could only imagine. He was gifted with extensions of the senses far beyond mine, and he listened to the voices I cannot hear. He sifted the winds and drank deeply from cool mountain waters. Together we walked miles and miles, drawn on by the trees, the flight of birds and footsteps of animals, the playfulness of sunlight and shadow, the music of sound and silence, and most of all love.
He was energized by the cold and transformed by snow. There was nothing quite so magical as being with him in the winter woods. He pulled me on a kick sled. He was my partner while I skied cross country trails, and I sang my song to him when he paced alongside me. He accessed heights to survey the ground below. He sensed mulberries ripening and nibbled those on branches near the ground. He plucked blueberries from low bushes while I picked them. He nosed patted Sweet Fern and ambled through the Solomon’s Seal. The Hemlock called his name.
Lakoda Raven could read the mind and intuit the heart like none other. Light sparkled in his eyes and radiated from all his being like I had never witnessed before, and that light never dimmed. He had a fascination for the moon. His world was filled with wonder every step of the way, and his indomitable spirit was a beacon. He knew life was good. He lived from the sanctuary of his heart. He was a happy being full of joy and gratitude, and he heralded peace and goodwill. His was a sweet endearing soul, kind and gentle. I used to say to him, “I love you the world.” I still do.