November 7th, 2010 | Published in general
I’m walking the dog, and she’s getting grey and slow and i wonder how many walks we have left. Sure, she’ll chase a squirrel and a bird and a rabbit if she sees it, but between those adventures she’s dragging and lingering, digging her nose through the bushes and leaves on the ground.
The neighborhood looks natty and fresh today. Everyone’s out, getting yards raked and roofs patched and gardens put to bed and though few people painted their houses this year they all look freshly done. There’s something about the soft, warm light of a November late afternoon that makes everything look a little better than it is.
We had dogs when i was a kid, but i don’t remember being all that attached to them. It seemed like they didn’t last long, getting run over down by the highway or we’d move again or something. But then, even though the losses would be sad, maybe it wasn’t all that short a time and i just always spent my days on other things instead. I remember a lot more about the books i read and projects i built than the time spent with my dogs.
I got Greta in the breakup, not exactly my choice, but i couldn’t just send her away. She was never really my dog, but the kids love her so and i have to admit that every once in a while, a vanishingly small percentage of the time, i’m happy that she has such a great bark. I’m still not much of a dog person, but a deal’s a deal, and we’ve both got that loyalty thing going for us, so we get along just fine she and i.
It was a busy weekend of house projects, but i’d promised her a walk today. I put her off for just a bit longer for a quick bike ride while the sun was still up because i wanted to use up an old roll of film. The shadows were long but the sky was still bright and i don’t often get to stop and just see. My grandpa’s old camera is perfect for days like this, having to meter and knobfiddle and consider before shooting. I found a old empty pond with a little stone bridge and leaves where the fish and the water would be, and skipped walking the labyrinth because i’d already done my meditation on the ground glass of the camera’s viewfinder.
When I got back to the house, we went right on out and she danced her way down the walk. She’s too big a dog to jump (and she’s old), so her version of dancing around looks mostly like someone trying to clap between pushups. So many days the walk is squeezed in, or done mostly out of guilt, but today was something different. The coming of winter, seeing her weight loss over the last year, catching that tripped step out of the corner of my eye. It’s easier to forgive the poorly-timed and sudden barks, the endless shadowing me around the house. Maybe even the slightly higher rate of puddles on the floor.
There’s something about the soft, warm light of a November late afternoon.