Tag Archives: walking the dog


Relax! This is not a post about trump burning huge garbage bags full of official White House records. It’s not about the Canadian trucker “protest” being fomented by white American terrorists. And we can blessedly ignore Joe Rogan for the moment.

No, this post is about the sometimes surprising contrast between inside and outside and how being inside creates one set of assumptions that being outside contradicts. I refer here specifically to the contrasts between light and dark, between safe or unsafe walkways.

Let’s begin with light. I’m sure you’ve had this experience: shadows lay claim to the corners of the dining room, the hallway darkens. You snap on a light and wonder what to make for dinner. But then let’s suppose you step outside for some reason — a package arrives or you suddenly need to draw fresh air into your lungs.

And you are surprised to find that the landscape is still in thrall to day. It seems hours earlier. The canopies are burnished with light, the yards clearly visible. You shake your head.

Let’s continue with sidewalks. The dire weather coverage these days is enough to make even a stalwart New Englander curl up under a blanket and leave the dog to his own devices. It’s not about snow. It’s about snow changing to rain and then sleet and back again. It’s about the invisibility of black ice. It’s how a moderately shoveled sidewalk becomes more hazardous than an unshoveled one after a fine coating of freezing rain.

So, do I or don’t I?

A friend canceled a weekend walk and when she canceled again today, I wondered whether to risk it. After all, a cold, needle-like rain hit my face as I stood at the back door and flung treats out for Finn’s morning game of Find It. The way they bounced off the frozen surface was not encouraging.

But guess what? It was totally and almost hilariously fine. Walking was fine. Switching from street to sidewalk was fine. We went a different way, the old way, to avoid traffic on Langley but even Langley would have been safe.

I was able to sink into walker’s mind — that particular way of thinking that arises halfway through an hour long walk. I thought about how moved I was by all the comments yesterday. I thought about the damage and trauma already experienced, and the damage to come. It was not depressing somehow. Walking-mind thoughts rarely are.

And as if that wasn’t enough, a red-tailed hawk sailed overhead and landed at the top of a pine tree near the intersection of Ridge and Parker. So very fine.

A walk in Webster Woods

All the recent rain changed the landscape. Rogue rivulets. Impromptu puddles hoping to become ponds. Glistening leaves. It was slippery enough for me to wish I’d brought poles.

It’s hard to get lost in this patch of woods, but we don’t always know precisely where we are. All the fallen leaves obscuring the paths today didn’t help.

It’s hard to believe this small wooded escarpment lies within a mile and a half of the house. Almost every time we traipse through here, I think about how if our boys were raised in the 60’s, they would have known every inch of this area. It makes me a little sad.

This week we are 33 years together. There are certain patterns of communication. I say Which way and when K doesn’t answer I say Let’s go right and when it turns out we kind of went the wrong way and we got to where perhaps we meant to go K says This is where we would’ve come if I’d said what I wanted to which was to go left.

One of the consequences of making a choice is you might be wrong. But if you don’t assert a choice, do you get to be right?

I can think of worse thing to stumble over.

Since a brilliant variety of mushrooms made our last walk festive, I kept an eye out but there were hardly any. What few I saw were like the Puritan versions of Mardi Gras celebrants. Don’t get me wrong, they were still spectacular, which is not an adjective I’d apply to a Puritan.

The leaf below looked like a bird in flight.

This boy was happy. Finn’s pack instincts came to the fore whenever K and I momentarily diverged (for me to take the low route, for instance — when did I become so cautious?). At these junctures, The dog becomes visibly anxious. I love how it matters to him that we stick together!

Like footprints

Today I will: ** read ten Joy Harjo poems; ** boil up Friday’s chicken carcass for stock and then make mushroom soup (shrooms from the market — not to worry!), ** scoop up wet leaves and walnuts along the curb using a straight-edged shovel. We will

From the woods in Concord
Also Concord
Back to Newton

Let’s Count – dog walk edition

One – number of trucks driven under low hanging wire, number of telephone poles pulled down by wire, number of transformers that blew, number of blocks away I was, number of screams that came out of my mouth.

Also one – number of flamingo puppets lying out, number of chipmunks seen flying into a hole, number of trains that passed while walking on Braeland Ave.

Still one – number of statues of the Virgin spied in a garden. Number of times Finn barked at a dog and looked at me for a treat (denied!)

Three – number of times I gave Finn treats for reasons unrelated to other dogs or for no reason at all.

Also Three – number of times I gave Finn treats for seeing other dogs and not reacting.

Five – number of people I recognized from making the Langley/Cypress loop regularly. Also roughly the number of times loud noise interrupted my peace and annoyed me (not counting the transformer explosion).

Nine or so — number of neighbors that spilled out of their houses after the big electrical POP. I recognized more than half of them.

Eighteen – number of rabbits counted at the Fun Corner Yard, but I’ll bet there were more.

And then there was the view of the woods that made me pause and the burdock that offered up a rhythmic patterning that somehow thrilled me. Both resist the count.

Have a good start to your week! I’ve determined that being disoriented to season feels a lot like sadness. Or maybe it’s the other way around?

Walk the dog

I know this neighbor. She is a knitting empress.

K informs me that this horse has been here as long as he’s been coming down this street. I do not ever remember seeing it. I know.

It’s hot. The lake is appealing.

One beautiful entrance and another tear down.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend. How do I know it’s Saturday? Cause K slept til 7. Because my pill box only has one more day. Because the yard crews are blessedly absent.

And lest you think my reaction to the crowd at the protest this week was over the top, check out the number of new cases in Massachusetts today. Almost 500. Now the curve is going down. That’s comforting. But it doesn’t escape notice that states where the curves are spiking and people are alarmed, they’re reporting cases in the 400’s.

In Massachusetts, the reporting of 400+ cases is just Saturday. Or Tuesday.

I’ve now made 81 masks.

Dog walk in pix

With a special eye to the trees (after reading Mo’s recent post).

A series of violent thunderstorms barreled through the region yesterday, It feels like we survived something. Now the air clogs with humidity such that I can almost see steam rising off the sidewalks. Gonna make do with fans for as long as I can stand.

Later: do you see Finn in the shade?