Our companion pulls the picnic bag out from under the stairs and Pearl starts pogo bouncing in the hallway, barking with delight. Eivor races between the living room and the kitchen, fetching toys to pile up at our companion’s feet. I trot into the kitchen and look our companion straight in the eye as my tail spins like a propeller behind my back.
“I am coming,” I tell her. She blinks at me in acknowledgement. “Of course you can come Seamie,” she says. I fling one of Eivor’s toys around the kitchen and trot back to the living room for a pre-walk rest.
The sound of accordion, fiddle and banjo fills the car as we travel towards the mountains. The caps of the Monadhliath are covered in snow. The hills ahead of us are green and I can already smell the trees.
Pearl jumps in the play-bow and barks at Eivor. The first whippet race of the day is off and Eivor wins round one. I am going to pace myself today and trot through the forest.
Ruby loved coming here and I can feel her presence. It has been five months since she left us in her physical form. Her spirit still feels very alive to me.
We come to a clearing where the stream widens. The water is flowing fast from the melting snows. Ruby used to love going in the water at this wider point. I can see her now with that sparkle in her eye.
Our companion walks to the bank, unties a purple ribbon from a pouch and turns it upside down. For a fleeting moment, the grey cloud of dust stretches into the shape of a running greyhound on the water. “Run free Ruby,” she says, “thank you so much for everything.”
When we continue towards the loch I can feel Ruby smiling among us. Eivor and Pearl can feel it too. Our companions are holding hands and look at each other.
When we reach the loch side we breathe in the freshness of the open water and hear the birds sing a beautiful song. The water is so high that small islands appear which are part of the shoreline for most of the year.
Eivor and Pearl normally have a wide beach here for running. They quickly adapt and run in smaller circles. We turn into the forest when the shoreline becomes too wet and cross another fast flowing stream. I look around to see if Ruby is coming.
“I am happy here in the forest,” she says. “I love the solitude and the beauty of the place. Many ashes have been scattered here and many spirits set free. It is where I now want to be.”
She fills my heart with love. She exists in this magical place and it makes coming here even more special than it was before.
I send you all so much love,