I have an opportunity once each week at my men’s circle to claim a “stretch”. This is simply me naming something that I will do, setting a time deadline, and usually making it a goal that feeds me in some manner. It also helps that by saying it out loud to the other men in my circle, I know that I will be held accountable. Last Wednesday at circle I claimed the stretch to go and visit my sacred spot before next weeks circle. I’ve been feeling a bit ungrounded spiritually, and I know that my physical nature is out of balance, so this seemed like I could kill two birds with one stone. I just got back from a visit to my SS with Nell. I woke up this morning, knowing that I would go today, but when I looked at the thermometer and it read 7 degrees, I decided to wait until after lunch and the cold had lifted a bit. I left the snowshoes behind this time, a decision made easier knowing that we had a couple of dozen people tramping the snow down two days ago during our annual snowshoe day at Sanctuary. I also decided to take Nell with me, despite the fact that she is suffering from that tumor in her hip. I figured a bit of exercise would be good for her, and that with the packed trail, she would not have to bust through much deep snow and perhaps aggravate things. I sat in my sacred spot, contemplating a bit about Sanctuary and sundance. Nell eagerly investigated the various smells that permeated the area, tail wagging a steady rhythm to some tune beyond my hearing. Occasionally she came over to me, insisting on a rubbing of my mittened hand on her muzzle. Tail still wagging! Off she went to sniff that track over there. Tail wagging! It struck me how happy she is. She is dieing and still finds joy in life. I love the teachings of the elders, and was reminded of the one which says that we are all teachers for each other. One of my teachers also says that humans are the only animals that do not remember their original instructions from the beginning of time to be joyful. Nell has been a good mentor for me, teaching me the art of being joyful and alive. She demonstrates over and over again what it means to be living in the moment. It is good dog medicine. Nyaweh for the gifts, my friend! Today I am more joyful.