Sunset over downtown San DiegoOne of my very favorite things to do with Buddy Girl was to take our sunset walks. We would walk a block south, then start heading west. The road is a gentle hill that crests on top of a high mesa, giving us a vista of downtown (and almost a bit of ocean). The light is always beautiful, and there’s something uplifting about walking towards the light, even as it’s waning.

Downtown has some pretty lights, and San Diego excels at magic hour, that gorgeous, clear dusk where time seems suspended and everything is coated with liquid gold. We could see down into the park, across the golf course, people coming home from work, other people walking their dogs.

Sometimes I would get caught up with work, despite her reminding me repeatedly that it was time. She would lie back down but not without backtalk, a heavy, loud exhale as she flopped down near my chair. On those days, when I was too busy to stop, we would miss sunset and just catch the very last daylight and the stars coming out. Sometimes we’d go a little too early, so we’d have a nice walk but the magic would be behind us as we were heading home.

But if we timed it just right, the sky would be changing as we were walking, waiting for the traffic light to change, her trotting along beside me and then stopping to sniff every five feet or so. To be honest, many times I’d be impatient with her, overly focused on keeping a good quick pace so we both got our exercise.

On the days when I was listening to her lessons, being mindful, I could slow down and appreciate the walk. How interesting everything was to her. How great that guy’s garden was growing. Whether Sarah had put up her Halloween decorations yet. What those crazy people were adding to their front yard.

Of course I miss her like crazy, and for weeks I was unable to walk our regular route without crying, so I’ve been trying other routes. I know she wouldn’t want me to be sad. She wouldn’t even understand sad, although I think she would understand missing.

It’s another Buddy lesson. Take a moment, don’t work too hard, go now, not later, don’t miss it. And stop and smell the grass, or the pizza crust, or whatever Scooby Snacks are in your path. There’s a beautiful sunrise every day. There’s a beautiful sunset every day. We can all choose to walk towards the light.

For more on what I learned from Buddy Girl, please take a look at my second book: Golden Angels: Lessons in Love and Loss from Buddy Girl and Daisy May.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you build a healthy life through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients.