Post from Pepper Bear by Guest Caretaker Eric Moore

Bear Dog here. You know I’m a sociable critter, so when the new fella showed at the pond house I thought I’d stop by and greet him. I recognized him right away from last year (he has a moustache like a Schnauzer I met once). He said hey, and that he also remembered me from last year which was fun to hear. Then, and like so many others, the next thing he said was a variant of “What a beautiful and healing place”, then he heaved a good long sigh…
I agreed with him and asked him how far he’d come and where his journey began. He related that he was about eight (of a medium sized dog) years of age so that meant he had lots of stories, experiences, anecdotes and little wisdoms he could share, so to start at the beginning would take too long. He said he’d just keep it simple and start by tellin’ me about this trip, which had commenced in Elko Nevada. “Long walk” I said. “Took the train” he said, “for nostalgias’ sake.” “Well, I don’t know who nostalgia is “I told him, “but the train sounds fun.”  “ It was”, says he, “and then I took a six hour bus ride from Martinez.” I said that I didn’t know Mr. Martinez either, but I hoped it was a good trip. “It was, hadn’t ridden the bus since I was a pup” he said, and we both laughed about that.
What brings you here I asked, and he talked about meeting Mackenzie when staying last year, and found the property soothing, healing, peaceful, and playful, a place that manifested a very tangible joy.  He said he enjoyed hearing (and was honored by her sharing) the vision she had for the place and was, in the end, simply compelled by her energy, spirit, directness, and determination, and by the potential for fun and fellowship. “Seemed like a good and useful way to spend some time” he said while patting my head in a friendly gesture.
I saw him off and on throughout the week doing everything from hanging curtains and organizing that old shed (you know, the one that smells so interesting) to running the chainsaw and working on the water pipes under the old house, and while the man always seemed to be smiling, he also appeared to be a bit bemused so I asked him about it. “It’s the place” he stopped and said. “After a very long time of throwing myself at life, I’m remembering how to live in the moment again and this magic place is makin’ that easy.” “Woof! I said in happy agreement, then I lay down on his feet so he could have the pleasure of giving me a good scratch under my collar and rub my ears in that way he does that I like.
A day or two later, I just happened to stop by the Pond House when he was grillin’ a burger. “Good people too” he said, picking up where he had left off “some of the best and most fun people that I have met and that’s saying something.” “Fun is good “I said. “Intriguing too, he continued, “educated, well-travelled, and good natured with a good sense of adventure and they’re not afraid of much it seems.” “All of which happen to be the traits of dogs” I said, looking out of the corner of my eye as I said it, just to see if he heard me. “Woof! “He said in cheerful agreement. The man then invited me to lunch, which I accepted. He winked and asked me how I wanted my burger cooked, “rare of course” I said, and we both laughed about that. I ate my burger, thanked him, and then we both went back to work.
It was dark one evening when I found Scooter (that was his name) sitting on the porch with a grin on his face. “Hey” he said quietly “what was your favorite thing about today?” “Favorite thing that happened, something I did, or maybe chased, or something good I dug up, or smelled or what” I asked? “You name it “he said. “Well, I did have bacon grease this morning on some scraps, and this afternoon I had a very realistic dream about doin’ really fun Wolf stuff.”
“Sounds like favorite stuff to me he replied. “How about you, what was your favorite?” I asked? He said “This afternoon I was on the phone with my back turned to the road when my new friend Joe came up behind me carrying most of a tree. When I turned around suddenly I think I jumped a little and must have had quite a surprised look on my face! We both then started laughing, Joe at my reaction and me in relief!
I was laying in the shade the next day, when Hula, Douglass’ cute Catahoula, showed up with a bunch of volunteer human friends and they all got real busy working on docks, fencing, burning stuff, pulling nails and weeds etc.That evening, I found Scooter sitting on the porch of the Pond House with wet eyes and a moist nose. “Smell something harsh didja?” I asked politely. “No” he said, “I tweaked my leg a few months back and it was bothering me pretty badly tonight. I was laying down when I heard a knock. When I opened the door, Emma “Fiya!” was there with a plate of food! I had missed supper and she brought me a pleasant meal complete with fresh picked wild greens.” The food made you cry?” I asked. “No, it was just her totally unselfish act of kindness that’s got me a bit overwhelmed right now, that’s all. I’m just sitting here happy, enjoying the moment, refreshed by a wonderful, gentle reminder of the rich promise of humanity and at the limitless potential of life. It’s Magic here.” “Yep” I said, and then we both quietly smiled.