For nine and a half years I was only once or twice walking in the woods without Jamie-dog.
These last four months has been a lesson in learning to walk alone.
In the beginning, I always brought a friend-hands free chatting on the phone with friends around the world. It distracted me from seeing his shadow at every turn. When no one answered my calls, I turned to audio books.
It took about two months before I could take out the ear buds and tread over soft pine and moss covered trails alone for a portion of the walk.
Often now I walk, completely alone with myself, lost in the quiet majesty of the Norwegian Wood.
There is always a shadow with me -- we walked these trails together so long that I know the places where he would stop and stiff or look over his shoulder at me to ask if he could jump in the river. But now that shadow is a memory of happiness instead of paralyzing grief. Time does heal.