Along for the ride:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Walk in someone else's shoes.

This morning was fabulous; a bit of a break in the heat due to thunder and a few splish-splash drops plink, plinking on the metal cover of the barbecue, on the deck outside the open door and windows to our bedroom, during the night. A varied sky making me smile as I did the first relay of dog-walks around 7:30 am. Not too early, but it is Saturday and quiet. The low sun beaming through miscellaneous clouds, creating unrealistic cartoon-rays, dividing the heavens in segments of pale gold, puffy white and under-lit lilac.
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.


  1. A beautiful description of your neighborhood.

    Your husband was very resourceful for one so young.

  2. I'm with you, walking is great - sometimes it can be a form of meditation. Thanks for all your lovely descriptions!

  3. A lovely place to live made more beautiful by your descriptions.

    Come to think of it, I have seen very few people with collies lately. No wonder they cause such a stir when you walk them. They are stunning dogs.

    Love your hubby's "tree complaint." I, on the other hand, would marvel to see so many aspects of the same tree. My grandmother used to say, "I love how the trees change their clothes each season." Time now for the festive wardrobe to come out of nature's closet.

  4. A lovely description of your walk. But, tell me, how will you be able to hand over your foster charges eventually? They sound delightful and they are SO good for you.

  5. It's nice when you and your hubby enjoy a walk together and yet you are prepared to walk without him and enjoy the sights and sounds and musings. My hubby rides his bike almost every day but I rarely ride mine. He gets so much out of his riding and most of the time the bike riding just makes my bottom hurt and all parts of me ache. But I can walk. Thinking my own thoughts while walking, imaginary music in my head, so much to see.

  6. Somehow, having someone express such a radically opposite point of view makes me enjoy my own even more. Thank goodness, because Hubby and I are polar opposites on just about everything!
    He likes scenery, he just wants the Readers Digest Condensed version, as seen from the car window.

  7. Well, if any enforced walks are proposed within my hearing, I just hope Hubby has an extra stool for me to pose mon cul on because I'm with him all the way! Walk schmalk...

  8. Friko, I will cry for my loss when the time comes but I will let them go to someone who can love them full time. They will only go to a wonderful home where they can be kept together, which is why it is taking so long to find. We have had a few offers that have not worked out. The rescue business takes patience. Also remember that I have a dog. Diva is happy to have house guests but deserves my undivided attention again one day.

  9. I so enjoyed your morning walk. I'm a walker more than a stool-siiter-onner (hubs is a cyclist). A real breath of fresh air before dreary Monday comes around, thanks.

  10. Very nice. I was right there with you.


  11. Marvelous post. You describe many reasons why people settled in California, seen and felt on your walks. Cartoon rays of sun in the cloud and discarded tart persimmons with deer bites on them, all in a whir of gorgeous collies in training to become even better collies.

    My bad cholesterol tested too high in my recent physical. Need to get serious about exercise in an attempt to prevent a need for statin drugs. I need to incorporate a separate walk from the dogs' walk to do this right! Your post was great incentive; thanks.

  12. Sounds like a great way to spend a morning... personally I prefer riding a bike to walking or running, one can cover more ground, still see things like trees clearly, but not for too long the same tree, and it's easier on the knees or other joints...

    Hope all is well with you and Hubby, have been a bit absent due to "la rentrée" which was slightly busier than usual.

    Just did a post today about a stone-cutting site in France that might possibly be of interest to you and/or Hubby...

    Cheers !

  13. Your walk mesmerised me.. there is something specatcular about the fresh bright mornings of Autumn, personally it's my favourite time of year and usually sunnier than summer over here, lol. I can relate to your hubbie's tree thing. I love to walk, but there is nothing as tedious as a long, muddy, stony, wet, track when your legs are tired and you want the warm fire of home... :-)

  14. Evocative and stylish. I felt as though I walked every step.

  15. Martin, welcome. I like what I see at your place.
    Watercats et al, this morning at 5 am sky full of stars and a skinny, nail-trimming of moon. All went from Navy to Royal Blue whilst I was out. Home to coffee and too much to do to get out of town tomorrow. The car is coming at 9am and I am too tired to pack tonight. I hope I have computer access in San Diego for these few days of recreation. I will try to take you all with me. It's been a long time since Hubby and I headed out on the same plane, to the same country, at the same time.

  16. the title of your post reminded me of that old joke: before you insult someone walk a mile in their shoes - coz then when you insult them you're a mile away and have their shoes.

    Then i read your post and wished i was there with you to enjoy your walk. Fantastic xx

  17. Greetings, just wanted to stop by and say "hi", hope your travels are or were marvellous...