It is indeed idle to get between a fool and his folly, and I could have done nothing else to convince those fools to save their own lives. I watched them plunge, sled, man and dog through the rotten ice to their deaths, while Buck gazed on, almost impassively. He was bruised, starved and broken, but for all of that he licked my hand, as if to wearily acknowledge me as his new master.
He got his strength back over the spring, while Skeet determinedly tended to his wounds until they were healed, and then both she and Nig could entice him to play their ridiculous doggy games. With me recovering from my frozen feet and Buck from his neglect, we four had a warm and lazy spring waiting by the river for the raft that was to carry us to Dawson.
It seems he would repay these days of sun and healing tenfold, his devotion to me is absolute. He would jump over ravine, intervene in any quarrel, drag me bodily from a river and save my life, he would win me a fortune on a hastily placed wager. All for some warmth, some play and a good long gas at the riverbank. And sometimes it frightens me. This is the sort of love man is not capable of, it is too simple, and infinite. It is unconditional.
Now we are deep in the East, where it feels like no man has gone before, and we have found our treasure trove. There is nothing for the dogs to do while we pan for gold and make our fortune, nothing but laze and play all day. But my Buck is getting restless, so deep in the wild. Sometimes he is gone for days at a time, immersed in the forest, and I think it is starting to feel true to him. This is his nature, and for all of the things he has endured in his short, hard life, I would let him go. I would tell him to break his ties with Man, to go and live as he should have lived. For I know he can hear it, and sometimes I think I can too, the Sounding of the Call.
Olga is catching up on Classics, and has just recently read The Call of the Wild for the first time in a couple of decades, which absolutely amazed her.