This is the view looking east along the Cedar River near Urbana, Iowa. It is fall, and I had just dropped off my 13-year-old daughter Sarah at a friend’s. I had Tank with me, our beloved Yellow Labrador retriever. One of my favorite things to do with Tank was let him run wild and free in open parks and ranges. This was one such place.
It’s called Wildcat Bluff. It has no facilities, no restrooms or showers. Just a few acres of unplowed land below a bluff. Several years earlier, I had camped here as a sponsor with a bunch of high school kids. We had just completed a fifteen-mile bike ride on the Cedar Nature Trail. I remembered it being a lonely, hidden place; a perfect roaming ground for Tank.
The sun was setting, highlighting the golden leaves and grasses along the bank. The river, normally dulled brown with clay appeared rich and blue. Ruined pillars are all that remain of an old railroad bridge that crossed the Cedar at this spot.
Tank passed away in 2018. I miss that old boy. Scenes like this remind me of our connection with each other, and with the land we call “home”.
Read here if you want an endearing story about Tank that I guarantee will make you happy: Pupperdog.