That’s me with my dog, Leary, when I was 20. Leary lived with me in a one-room apartment above Iris’ Yarn Shop in Bloomington, Indiana, while I earned my undergraduate degree in mathematics.

Leary was a bold dog. He loved to argue with me. I remember once up in the woods around the observatory on the Indiana University campus where I had a fight with him. “No!” “Ruf!” “No!” “Ruf!” “No!” “Ruf!” And on it went. I don’t think we resolved it.

Later in my life when I moved out to the country to live in a log cabin, Leary came along with me. For one Indiana winter, it was just the two of us with a wood-burning stove in a little log cabin on a gravel road off a gravel road nestled into the rolling hills of Brown County. Brown County was so hilly because it was close to where the glacier stopped that flattened everything above us, from Franklin, Indiana, on north. That land was great for growing corn. Brown County was rolling forests, some of it populated by country folk who lived off the grid. There was occasional feuding near enough to my cabin that I would lay on the floor just to be safe when I heard shots and shouts.

Often in those woods, I would often open up the front door of the cabin in the morning and Leary would shoot out into the great beyond. He would come home around dinner time, sometimes with cuts on his snout or body. We were wild spirits.

Those times still live in me, down under all that I do today. I remember Leary’s spirit with fondness and warmth. He was a good companion, and I relied on good companionship then as now.

Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give. – Bertrand Russel