Man’s business, God’s business, dogs and Other musings

Man’s business, God’s business, dogs and Other musings

(as published in the Mountain Gazette, April 4, 2013)

A couple weeks ago I was traveling down to Washington, DC for business.
Like all Vermonters, I’m often stopped on the street when traveling
out-of-state and asked about our well-managed state government…sorry, I forgot
this is a non-fiction column. I can truthfully say that I am often asked about
Vermont and the quality of life we enjoy, but too often take for granted. I
know I certainly miss the mountain views, being outdoors, and watching the
wildlife when I’m away. However, even when you are in the city you often meet
people with a passion for the outdoors that seems contradicted by the urban
environment.
 Like many Catholics and non-Catholics alike, I was following news of
the papal conclave and the election of the new pope with interest. After hearing
news of white smoke coming from the chimney on the roof over the Sistine
Chapel, the traditional sign that a new pope has been elected, I turned to
Twitter for current news as to who had been elected. One of the first Twitter
posts to report news of the white smoke was Matt Crawford, a public relations
specialist for the outdoor world (@MattCrawford). Matt’s next “tweet” is what
caught my eye, “Looks like there’s a few sugar houses in the #VT hillsides
electing popes today, today.” Proving, once again, that news from the Vermont
outdoors world is always timely.
You’ve heard it said that “eyes are windows to the soul.” While this
may be true, I think dogs can tell a lot about a person as well. My most recent
foray into the land of regulation and seemingly unlimited fiscal waste brought
me to a restaurant breaking break with four corporate attorneys, three of whom
I was meeting for the first time. We exchanged background pleasantries about
families and pets and the conversation turned to dogs. Two of the attorneys’
interest perked up when they heard that I had two dogs. They became even more
animated when I told them that I had a Brittany and an English Setter. “Do you
hunt them?” They asked. I said that I had hunted them, but they were in no way
finished dogs. They then asked, “are you a good shot?” I said fair. I then
learned that one of the attorneys bred and hunted champion Vizslas. The other
attorney’s family had a large quail plantation down South. This attorney was a “good
shot,” hunting quail with a 410! The conversation then drifted back to work and
a new matter on which they wanted to retain me. This is the only time I can
remember that having two hunting dogs may have helped me land a work project.
At the beginning of the year I published a list of New Year resolutions.
One of those resolutions was to “take up a new and complimentary “hobby”;
something to get you out in the woods during the off season.” This winter I’ve
snowshoed quite a few times, including several trips up Mount Mansfield, either
with my wife or by myself. After some recent snow, I decided to get out again
this past Saturday. I figured this might be my last time out this year.
I got up early and was the first snowshoer on the trail. Near the end
of Nebraska Notch trail, I was passed by another snowshoer. I was grateful to
be passed and to let him break trail for a bit. Upon hitting the Long Trail,
the other snowshoer turned north while I turned south to Taylor Lodge. Once
again, the snowshoer overtook me – thinking he had taken a wrong turn looking
for the summit. I told him he had been correct the first time and he was now
heading away from the summit. We met again at Taylor Lodge, where we shared
some food and exchanged stories. His name is Sergio and he is visiting from
Spain and is studying Buddhism. We had much in common. I have heard of Spain
and have been said to have a Buddha-like physique. I offered to take Sergio’s
picture and e-mail it to him. I handed Sergio the hiking register for him to
leave his mark and we parted ways. Even in our small corner of heaven you never
know what pleasant souls you’ll meet seeking the peace and beauty found in
Vermont’s mountains.
Happy days afield. 

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