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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Walking Away From the Old Year

Singer waits patiently while I work at my laptop this morning. I told her we were going on a walk, a special one that lasts exactly one hour. I’ve timed it—doorstep to doorstep. It’s a bike trail that parallels a golf course. In the off season, I used to walk Saylor on the edge of the golf course, it was so beautiful and I loved the feel of the springy turf underneath our feet. Then the golf course ends and we walk between the bike trail and the backyards of Shorewood Village, nestled within Madison. There is a certain dog that lives along this route, I’ll be sure to get Singer on the trail before we come to his house. He’s a barker and I think they have an invisible fence that stops him from lunging at walkers. The trail goes all the way to the university, but we’ll stop and turn around at a street called Shorewood Boulevard. Then the route back is the same. I love this route, and look forward to showing it to Singer. Today the world is frosty with a crusty snow, should be very pretty.

Singer doesn’t know the word “walk” yet. I imagine she ran among pine trees with her doggie friends to get her exercise, a free and wild existence weaving through the trees under a wide open sky. Compare that to this rather regimented “walk” business, and it's no wonder that Singer blandly looks at me when I say "walk?" Saylor loved her walks. I am proud to say that we walked every day of her life, except when we were on vacation and the last few weeks of her life. The word “walk” would elicit excitement, her ears would perk up, and she would look around for a shoe that she would pick up in her mouth to bring to me. “No, that’s not my shoe, that’s Daddy’s!” Sometimes she would pick up my shoe, and I had to get her to drop it so I could put it on. These humans need their shoes for some reason when they walk, so I’ll help them out!

So Singer is snoozing on the couch, oblivious to my plan. But I have confidence that she will soon look forward to our daily walks, just like Saylor did. Today, we will be walking away from the old year, and toward a new year. It’s meditative to walk, and I love to think about my life while allowing the images of nature to soothe my consciousness, seeping in like a mysterious balm through the wind, the snow, the trees, the birds, the sky. Singer will be no doubt an alert sentinel, her head attuned to every animal, scent or sound, excitement rippling through her muscles, propelling her magnificent, prancing walk.

This is near the beginning of the bike trail, that is also along a railroad track. As we cross over to the next year, Singer waits for me to show her which way to go...
Notice how many bike tire tracks, even in this slippery weather! Madison is a big bike city.
This is where we get off the trail to walk along the golf course. I stopped to take a picture, and Singer turns around to see what I am doing...hence, the back end shot!
We stop to take a look around. Singer notices everything.
"I think I like this, Mom!" Her coat looks so pretty against the rusty colored pine needles.

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