The Daily Walk

    I’m an outdoor woman. I like to be outside with nature. I like to see Mother Earth in all her glorious moods; from a warm tank top dawn, to a grey rain jacket afternoon and even the wooly coat evening of winter has its own beauty that inspires me.


    But today the rain is dripping down the back of my neck as the cold wind finds every tiny opening in my clothes, I have a list of things to be done back at the house and my dog has to stop at every tree, inspect it, then consider if she should mark the spot as well. (Yes, she marks as much as any male. Echo thinks she is a boy and well in charge of every other dog along the walking route.) We finally get going and a couple of paces further there is another tree. I move faster in hopes that she will bypass this one but no, no, she must inspect it. Oh mercy! I can feel my patience draining from my body like the sand out of an hourglass.


    “Can we just keep moving please?” I ask her in a loud voice to be heard above the blowing wind.


    Echo tilts her head at me and wags her tail, totally happy with the rain, the wind and the abundant trees yet to be marked.


    Now I understand. This is her big outing for the day and no amount of foul weather will keep her from enjoying her experience. There are trees to pee on, and squirrels to harass and wild leaves on the loose to chase. There are other dogs out and about with their guardians and Echo has to make sure they know she is the queen of the neighborhood. She pulls herself up on her tippy toes and puffs her coat a bit to look bigger than she is, even though she towers over any dog we meet. She raises her tail just a little more, moving it slightly side to side, like a royalty waving half-heartedly at the peons who gather to pay homage.


    As I watch her antics, I care less about the dribbles down my back and the wind seems not quite so biting. She has many things to do on her walk, and though I find it mundane at times, just an autopilot sort of thing, she does not. This is her ‘stopping after work for a drink with friends’ moment, her ‘coffee clutch’ with me and friends who stop by. This is her time that she doesn’t have to share me with our other dogs, or the phone or anything else on my agenda.


    “Should we go find a squirrel?”


    Her face lights up as she looks at me, then she dances a few steps as she scans the trees, thinking maybe she missed something.


    What a simple and marvelous gift to give her. The gift of time, with me, alone. And, yes, the rain is a little annoying, but I’m wet already. A few more minutes won’t make it any worse. We’ll take our time on the way home.

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