Sunday Houndie Walk

This time of year's rough for me. The early darkness, the cold; as impossible as it seems to believe, I get even grumpier when Daylight Savings Time ends. It takes just about everything I have (and many manufactured projects) to keep myself from just coming home and going to bed, skipping dinner. Especially on Mondays.

It kind of started the first year we had Cheyenne, and was institutionalized last winter: Sunday evening, she and I head out for a big walk.

Over a block, up the street; a short, but steep, climb up to the ridge. Through the open space to the dog park (the irony — a dog park within walking distance where, because of the lack of fencing, she can't go off leash). Down through the park and back up the other side, past the memorial and back into the open space. There's two paths out, and from there at least two routes, so plenty of room for variation depending on the weather and our mood. No girls allowed, except for the dog.

It's become important, this ending to the weekend. Something to look forward to, something that puts an end to the weekend's activities. Something where nothing happens except putting one foot in front of the other. And enjoying the sights and sniffs.

These first few weeks, nice; but winter sets in quickly and the walk gets cold. It's timed to make sure that we still have sun up on the ridge and, hopefully, a bit in the park. Though the sun can warm, the wind blows up on the hill. The park's protected — but dusk lingers, making distinguishing figures in the gloaming difficult; from what I understand, this is the way dogs always see. Through the dark neighborhoods on our way home, the sensible people are inside.

The season's changes become evident. Up through New Year's, it's rough, obvious why we have the holidays to bring us light at that time of year. But soon enough, it may not be warming or even nicer, but the sun's out longer. Still have to skip This American Life to make it, but the progress to the longer days is visible.

I romanticize, I'm sure — we'll be dragging ourselves on this walk soon enough, both bundled up against the cold. Muscling through to the solstice. Maybe we'll enjoy a little a snowstorm or two, maybe watch one just obscuring the mountains. The return to the warm, lit house for the evening's last chores, then dinner, always a welcome treat.

Last Sunday, Cheyenne was thrown off by the false start to Sunday Houndie Walk season, not particularly wanting follow me through the neighborhoods instead. Yesterday, as I worked at the computer, she came in to lie down in the office; not unusual, but unexpected. But, soon enough, agitated, egged on by Monica telling her to demand a walk. When we set out, there was no hesitation, no question about direction at the end of the driveway. She was, except for some distractions, at the end of the leash from the beginning to the very end (a rarity these days as she loses her conditioning). It's important to me, this walk; even moreso now that it is to her, too.


clairz said...

"Muscling through to the solstice"--what a great phrase, and one I'll remember as we wait for warmth and light again outside.

dori said...

beautiful post, Bram :)