For months our lady friend’s eyes welled to the brim when she saw a neighborhood malamute struggle to get up from falling on the icy roads this winter, when she heard a distant cry hello from his perch on our neighbor’s porch and, this week, when she experienced his silence during the time the mobile vet was parked outside of their house. This evening our man friend relayed what he learned, and what we already reluctantly knew, on his run this evening: the owner confirmed that the dog’s life was gone.

More so, the past couple days we learned of much more serious loss. Human loss of not someone due to age or simple nature, but evil circumstance. Loss that we cannot imagine outside of our geographic bubble. Loss that is not able to be reconciled, intellectualized or explained in simple terms. Something that, though not directly impacting our lives, made our owners pause and think about higher beings and life meanings.

Just so you know, our lady friend has spent no less than seven thousand (or it seems) hours in church in her lifetime thus far. She grew up Catholic and wore a uniform every single school day for 12 years. Her kneecaps have permanent tenderness as a result of the yearly stations of the cross exercises, her memory includes a standard list of sins to relay to the man behind the curtain, she knows the story of so and so and she can recount why, when, where and how in terms of biblical legacy.

How does this history affect the person that she is today?  Well, I’m going to put it this way: she is no longer traditionally religious. She learned to patiently reflect, admire and be still. Though, these life events, tests of positivity, reminders that life is precious, fleeting and glorious have not resulted in the urge to read a passage, repeat a prayer or house herself in a nice indoor place during certain hours of the week.

Instead, perhaps that’s why she was trained to so enthusiastically recall and verbalize natural beauty, or the unique, the miraculously funny, the odd or the beautiful. Her heart swells when she sees thousands of arrowhead balsamroot pepper a hillside, recounts the always “best-ever” sunset of last evening, shivers at the good feeling of jumping into an ice-cold lake, relishes in the positive affects of laughter with friends, explains the disposition of us dogs when free in the woods, really sees with awe the rainbows, the weather, the songs, the food, the life, the love and so on and so on.

This place is religious. This life is sacred. Every single day can be cherished, if you so choose. And, the beauty is that you can have this life anywhere, if you wear the right sort of glasses.

You can hear of loss and know that today, tomorrow or the next day there will be some moment to lessen the pain and abolish any need to know the reasons why. Some moment like when the overpowering voices of the sandhill cranes will startle you into deep reflection. As you look to the sky, your smile will widen knowing that your whole world is a temple. Just look for it, and everything will be just fine.