Wednesday, January 20, 2016

True Story - I met my Spirit Guide Animal in Mexico
KT and I were on vacation in Mexico the past week with our good friends Mike and Jessica. While there, I had an experience that I can't stop thinking about. I can't explain it and I'm not sure I want to be able to. I fiercely debated sharing it as it sounds so implausible that I fully expect most people to call bullshit and can't blame anyone for doing so. But it happened and those few I shared it with have encouraged me to write it up. So I will.
First, a word about our destination. We were on the Pacific Coast in a town called Zihuatanejo. Mike and Jessica have been visiting annually for nearly 20 years. This was the our second trip and we plan on going back every year until we are no longer able to walk it's amazing hills and beaches. It's stunningly beautiful (see photo), incredibly friendly and dirty in all the right ways.
No trip to Mexico would be complete, however, without the clich├ęd sickness. On the Saturday morning of our trip, I broke down with a pretty significant fever. It started coming on - along with some stomach discomfort - at breakfast. I knew something wasn't right when I started slightly shivering in 80 degree humid heat. If I were smart, I would have gone back to the room at this point. However, I am stubborn - and stubborn and smart are often not on the same team. So, I trekked with the rest of the gang to the beach. After a few hours of laying on the beach, my fever had gotten to the point where I was miserable. I was unbearably hot except for the times I was freezing cold. I didn't have the energy to even read. I simply laid there begging for sleep. Sleep finally came, but left soon after arriving. The short nap gave me a little burst of energy, however, and I decided to head back to the hotel.
I didn't want everyone to have to leave so I insisted on going back alone. To get to the beach we were on, you can either take a water taxi or walk over a rocky stretch that is mostly easy terrain, but has a few areas that are a little more difficult to navigate. We chose to walk over as it's a beautiful hike and a lot of fun, provided you don't have a raging fever. I did, however, having a raging fever, and was having a taxing time getting over the path on the way back. I stopped to rest for a second when a big black dog walked up to me. It looked something like a Great Dane, but wasn't quite as large. It was obviously a stray, which are fairly common in Zihuatanejo, but just keep to themselves and don't bother anyone. It had a torn up muzzle, like it recently had been in a fight. It walked past me, stopped, stared at me for a few seconds and then slowly started walking again. I followed it.
It walked unusually slow for an unleashed dog, always staying about 10 feet in front of me, the entire length of the path. At the toughest point of the journey, where it is necessary to climb and over a short crag, I met up with a family of locals coming the other way. The path wasn't wide enough to get by one another, so I moved off to the side to let them pass. The dog slipped by them and disappeared over the rocks out of my view. It took a while for the family to get through as there were six of them, including one who I assume to be the abuela who was being mostly carried over this part. After about five minutes of waiting, I slowly labored over the rocks. When I got to the other side, the dog was sitting on the path a little ways up. As I neared him, he got up and slowly led me the remaining way down the path, which opens up to another beach and a place I could grab a cab back to our hotel. Once the cabs were in view, the dog turned around and left back down the path the way he had came.
I jumped in a cab, went back to the hotel and spent the next 10 hours sleeping in five minute shifts, alternating between freezing cold and sweating profusely. KT came and checked on me for a few hours and then went to dinner about 8:00 with Mike and Jessica, getting back to the room around 11:00 or so. At what I think must have been around 2:00 or 3:00, I had a very brief dream. In the dream, everything was exactly like things were in our hotel room except the sliding door to our little balcony was open and the curtains were different. I would have thought I was awake and not dreaming but I knew the balcony door was closed. I was looking at the door and the same dog (torn muzzle and all) that walked me down the path walked in. He came to the foot of the bed, calmly looked at me for just a few seconds and then walked back out the door in his same slow gait. I woke up slightly freaked out but quickly fell back asleep - and slept for a solid, glorious, seven hours. My fever had broken.
I woke up feeling way better but still had stomach issues, of which I'll spare you the details. KT and I played it safe and stayed near the hotel while Mike and Jessica went back to our favorite beach. We met up again that evening and walked to dinner in town, but my stomach punished my indiscretion and I excused myself early and hightailed back to the hotel, leaving the Kellys to babysit KT once again. I went to bed early, moaning and groaning. At about 3:00, while up using the facilities again, I decided I wasn't going to be able to go the beach again the next day which was a major bummer as it was our last full day. Then, at what I believe was 4:00 or 5:00, I had another 30-second dream.
In this dream, the scene was our favorite beach and it looked exactly like it does in reality, right down to the color and placement of our favorite loungers under a shady tree but only a few feet from the water. There are four chairs there and the host always had them ready for us in the morning with a stocked cooler of cervezas. The chairs were all empty except for the chair which I always grabbed. In the chair, as you have no doubt guessed by now, sat the exact same dog. I woke up immediately as this time I was definitely freaked out. I fell back asleep after a while and slept until 7:30. The plan (for those healthy enough to do it) was to leave the hotel at 8:30 and walk over to our beach, grabbing breakfast somewhere on the way. I got up, had another small "event" and still felt not so great - a little better - but not so great. Because of the dream, however, I decided to give the beach a shot.
By the time we got to the beach, I felt like a million bucks. I made up for all the beer I had missed the previous days, ate anything and everything, skipped the afternoon siesta and partied straight through until we went to bed at 11:00 or so. It was a fantastic day of fun and friends that I'm certain I'll never forget. The Spirit Guide dog had shown me which decision to make and I can't thank him enough.
I tried for a while to come up with a suitable name for the dog, but have come to the realization that I like it better that he doesn't have one. I can't adequately describe how confusing and yet how real this was for me, so it only seems fitting that my dog hero doesn't have a name. After all, I'm not even sure he exists.