I hear their cries of excited pursuit as they push their noses high in the air, hoping to sail on the scent of people long gone, caught on the thistles along the paths. Memories, they are the hounds that play along my side as I travel, howling in the night when loneliness stalks me and creeps its way into my tarpaulin refuge. They quietly dig at the unseen footsteps of my past loves when my bottle is near empty and the flames of company have faded to only the dull warm glow of afterthought. I love it when, in the mottled light of sunrise breaking through my shelter of branches, my faithful hounds nudge me with the wet nose of many mornings past. Those mornings when waking to fish my dreams from life’s rivers flowing gently past, I found that elusive “granddaddy”, and pulled it from the muddied water with a rush of victory and pleasure. My camp is filled with many of those that got away. This where my humble abode now sits, along those paw marked muddy banks, that disappear in the fog of today, ghosts of Then floating through Now. I see your quirky look as you wonder at my friends. You have friends like me, though they complain you don’t spend enough time with them, your fires of denial burning bright enough to chase them far away. Relax here in the warmth, lets let our friends mingle, they know how to make smiles and frowns dance with youthful vigor, and just the watching of it will make us tired enough to pass into the night with sweet sleep.