I walk more slowly in the mornings and evenings because both dogs are older now.
At first, I was frustrated, the walks no longer providing any kind of cardiovascular workout, and the duration of walks extending from 20 minutes to 40 or more, as the dogs stop and sniff across the same distances. The former show collie trots her practiced prance while the Ollie with his bum knee does his best to keep up, racing his short legs as fast as they will go, wide grin present, so steadfast!. But too often now he trails so far behind us, that even on his retractable leash which stretches at least 10 feet behind, we need to stop and wait for him to catch up. And then we rest and let him catch his breath. Sometimes I have to carry him (and mind you, he isn’t a light dog, despite his mild-mannered appearance.) The show collie gets jealous and piss-y, barking at me, which is just the way it is and has to be.
There is a storm coming today. The morning the wind sounded like the ocean, pushing invisible waves through the new leaves and back. The twirl of green maple tree seedlings, spun like confetti, landing across mowed grass like well-played lawn darts, seed pods first, arrow-ing straight into moist ground. We used to call them helicopters when we were kids, and we’d pick them off branches, tossing them up and watching them twirl. We’d twirl them even when they were brown and crisp.
I closed my eyes, while walking slowly, imagining myself on The Shining Sea Bike Trail in Falmouth, the spot just approaching Surf Drive, past the nesting osprey, and the pond where 2 swans return. The tall grasses there make the same sound, like the first movement of a symphony, leading the heart of the listener into the space where crescendos reign, and salt water pummels rock while children race waves, and squeal for the water’s icy sting, and sea gulls laugh, that raucous and obnoxious way they do, for peanut butter sandwich crusts and corn chip crumbs.
A maple seed pod hit me sharply on the eyebrow, like someone flicking me awake. I smile and head for home.
I walk more slowly for there is much to savor, and I am growing old.