This morning, after quite a few months of ignoring things I should have paid closer attention to, I rolled out of bed at my usual time, sans an alarm clock (pure luxury that has been!) and started the coffee I had percolated the night before to warm up on the induction plate for so many minutes, trusted it would turn itself off when it was supposed to, threw on a pair of sweats and hoodie over my pjs grabbed the leash and called out to my dog…
“C’mon – let’s go for a walk.”
At first, she had a hard time believing in her grand great luck and eyed me with great suspicion.
The waves of suspicion visibly vibrated off her to hit me, as she knew full well I had zero caffeine and nicotine in me and it’s too early for a ride in the truck to the vets place, what the heck? Is this silly human to be trusted? At all?
But when I repeated the words coupled with bending down to put her pretty pink collar and leash on her (gifted to her by my Auntie 2 years ago and still looking all but brand new, through low use….ahem…) she started getting excited and quickly forgave me my numerous and recent sins and demonstrated with her full body from tip of nose to the end of her tail –
“Yes! YES! Let’s hit the open road Jack!!”
We headed out into the pre-dawn light and right into the gentle, but increasing swell of nature’s song played to greet the new day. A song which she and I often miss cuz I’m working, while she pulls perimeter guard duty and/or keeps me company while I work late and jerks awake to move out of the way when I pop up from my office chair and forget she’s laying right next to it with her dainty, fragile paws in the path of danger.
She eagerly smelled the ground, raced ahead or stayed behind to sniff some interesting spot some more, which left me to me own devices and had me alternating between speed walking and standing still to do my own deep breathing in and out of the fresh, dewy, bursting with the smells and tastes on the back of my tongue of a beautiful, cool summertime morning.
For me, our walks are less about raising and sustaining our heart rates for overall health, and more about just living in whatever the moment brings, whether it’s on her preference levels or mine.
I’m in charge of speed-walking by homes of aggressive dogs, calling out good morning to them, and am also in charge of pausing at major roadway crossings to check traffic patterns.
She’s in charge of our pace the rest of the time.
Since she’s a dog, who lives to smell things, I have plenty of time to engage in deep, to my diaphragm, breathing in and exhaling so fully the exhale operation actually bends my body forward, or doing the alternate nostril breathing to get my left and right sides of the grey matter in my head back in sync.
She does her thing, I do mine.
By about 1/2 a mile in, we have hit our stride – by 3/4s of a mile in, I think perhaps she has slipped her collar, but no, she is padding right beside me and the leash suddenly feels invisible.
We have become one moving entity made of two and are moving through space and time in natural harmony!
By a mile out, she is fairly subdued, not smelling much of anything and lagging somewhat behind me, but not yet dragging on the leash, simply because she fell too far behind.
And it hits me…..
In human years, she is somewhere between 69 and 78 years old according the age chart for mid-sized dogs, provided by the pet section of webmd[dot]com.
For the sake of comparison, let’s just say she is old enough to be my mother or even my grandmother if all my matriarchal line started childbearing activities when they were fairly young.
She also, like me, hasn’t gotten out much for sustained, long term steady walking, for quite some time.
While we do occasionally race, play hide and seek or dance around the living room and she has free range access of our 780 sq foot house with a small 30’ by 15’ foot penned area or so to race through the doggie door betwixt the two spaces anytime she likes – it’s just not the same.
I stop, check in with her and myself, and say,
“That’s enough for today girl, let’s go home, we can walk a bit further tomorrow.”
For I also noticed that by going barefoot a lot this past year, instead of frequently walking or racing around in my comfy Ariat work boots which had my ankles and calves reminding me quickly of my allowed to ‘degrade & weaken’ physical stamina fronts.
And because I’ve done this little ‘rodeo’ of atrophying portions of my internal world and then rebuilding them, on different fronts, quite a few times in my life, I know starting out with ‘just enough’ and pushing it a bit more, everyday, is the best overall approach for me to walk the road back to better health, without injury.
Maybe this choice will work well for her too…
I was reminded, yet again, of how great it is to start the day in this manner and commit myself to doing so for me and her, until freezing temps or wind gales of 60 mph talk me out of it, or I once more get distracted by financial stressors from unexpecteds that always manage to herd me right back into workaholic ways or the need to learn massive amounts of new skills in a short time and I lose sight of what I first learned long, long ago.
And that, my friends, is the first, more than 900, less than 1,000 words of the nearly 9,000+ word count I wracked up overall today in writing for the fun of it, the pure joy of it. Writing which as already been edited & refined twice, before I laid it aside to revisit later with fresh eyes.
A day that started great and by some miracle from above, afforded me enough space and grace to just sink into what used to be easy and quick to do, that finding the skills, the time or inspiration to do for ever so long, has been a mighty struggle or felt like one more ‘have to do’ thing…
For me, this kind of day actually occurring and not getting interrupted by 9:30 or so by a descent into chaos on various external fronts & needs, has been ever so long overdue, and was needed so much by me, personally, I couldn’t wait to finish and publish the entire work, before logging in and sharing some of it with you….
I do so hope your day was blessed by some small moment of grace and beauty or, like me, was hit by a the tsunami sized chunk of long overdue waves of grace, arriving all at once, in waves that left you refreshed and not drowning.