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I set out to write a book about my travels in the Yukon with Keesha and the lessons I learned from this wild and free dog. But I ended up writing a book about resilience and vulnerability. About how you rise rom the ashes of your own choices and the storms of life to find freedom.

Keesha and I lived together in a post-9/11 world. A world buffeted by change and chaos in the economy and within me. A world where illness and deaths of many kinds lurked around too many bends. A world where the mystery of life blossomed.

One summer, Keesha and I traveled deep into the Yukon. We left with questions. About family, about freedom. We discovered teachers really do appear when you are ready. We found some answers but often more questions.

The next morning I woke to steamed-up windows and fog covered mountains. I pried myself out of the sleeping bag and uncurled to stand on the blacktop. One by one, the RVs left. Soon only Keesha and I were left to watch the sun’s fingers caress the fog off the face of the glacier, brushing the white face with gold.

I perched on the curb, hot tea in hand and laughed. Here I was sitting on a concrete curb, cooking my breakfast on blacktop, after sleeping in my car and I couldn’t be happier!

My heart danced with the sun, holding hands with the glacier and I burst with a feeling a freedom. “I am free,” I shouted to the glacier. “I am free,” I called to the raven. “I am free,” I grinned at Keesha who grinned back and said in her special canine language, “Yes you are!”

Keesha reveled in the wild freedom we found. I thought I did too. But it wasn’t until years later, after Keesha died and I lost almost everything, that I understood the steep price freedom demands.

Freedom comes when you are willing to light the fires of forgiveness and unconditional love. The fire may be furious and unbearable for awhile. The embers may linger on, surprising you with heat under what you thought was cold ash. But eventually, the fire burns out. And you can walk away free, knowing that there are no sparks to light those fires anymore.

Travels with Keesha is kind of like Eat, Pray, Love meets Marley and Me with a dose of Don Quixote. It’s a book about an epic road trip. An inner journey of growth. A quest. A test of spirit and will. A story of deep love  that lasts though life changes and beyond death. It’s a tribute to Keesha.

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