A quick power-walk around the block to relieve the foster-dogs before feeding them, grabbing a quick cup of coffee, then the exercise walk in earnest. Fitting in a stroll with old Diva between the others; strategically exiting the house whilst the demanding orphans are eating; as quiet as mice so that the tantrum howling of "those who want to go everywhere with me" does not start and alienate my neighbors.
The air feeling cool, compared to the previous days, but still pleasant to be sleeveless. Persimmons half eaten by deer in the night, left scattered on the sidewalk. Heavy fruit-laden branches supported by wooden props. Naked twigs where the lower leaves usually make me duck to pass beneath. The fruit are barely starting to glow with ripeness; more green than orange. I wonder if deer have lips that pucker after tasting unripe persimmons.
A few starlings cluster and whistle, a sign of seasonal migrations. The Japanese Maples have a few leaves changing color. It is almost offensive. It feels too early to be reminded of summer's end.
I have time for a real walk with "those who will one day be adopted". We are working on our manners; not trying to kill all cyclists, squirrels and skate boarders. A few reminders are necessary in the excited rush and swirl of our launch from home. Our walk takes us through residential streets without sidewalks. There are a mixture of older homes and a few McMansions. A bungalow with a pot bellied pig in the yard next to something similar to the home of The Adams Family. There are always a couple of American flags. Today is September 12th, there are more than usual.
Our path takes us down a steep hill, with more momentum than is comfortable for my knees until we hit bottom and start up the other side. Across a wooden footpath, pedestrian bridge, past the golf club-house and uphill some more until we crest above the newly renovated and re-opened Blackberry Farm, which will take us via woodland trail and stream-side valley back through the trees to the base of the final climb home; a choice of eighty-five steps or a forty five degree incline loop of winding sidewalk.
On the way we say hello to a league of nations cross section of our community. These dogs really seem to appeal to my Asian neighbors; even those older walkers who have limited English, smile and pronounce "Beautiful" as best they can. A few younger people raise their phones and snap pictures as we flounce by in a red-carpet paparazzi flurry of proudly elegant collie profiles and contrasting black, tan and white fur. The banner tails curve up and over their backs adding drama to the prancing, high-stepping paws. Diamonds would not be out of place.
Back home, satisfied, the morning continues productively and I am in a good mood as Hubby and I sit to lunch. I mention how much I enjoyed my walk and that, even dog-less, I plan to continue nurturing my need in the future.
Hubby's response is to launch on a description of how torturous he found it, as a child away at summer camp, that people would expect him to go on hikes. "Not even on paved pathways!" he exclaimed, in defence of his, then, nine year old recalcitrance. "On uneven, sometimes hilly goat tracks". "Oh my God! When you walk you move slowly and are forced to look at the same tree for much too long!" "You see it in the distance. You see it approaching slowly, and it takes forever, with no change of scenery, to get past that tree!" Hubby's solution, on the second day of summer camp, was to volunteer to peel vegetables in preparation for returning lunch-time campers. Sitting peacefully in the kitchen without a darn tree in sight.