“That’s it,” I said to no one. “I’m getting nowhere.”
I shut the lid of my laptop in disgust and walked away. As I paced around the room, I glanced out the window and decided a walk might help jumpstart the words that wouldn’t come – not even for a deadline.
I rummaged around in the garage until I found Charlie’s dog leash. As I bent to hook it to his collar, he looked up at me with those scaredy-dog eyes, suspicious of a trip to the vet’s office. “
“Come on, Charlie. Let’s go walk!” I said cheerfully, but he was still reluctant. Once we were striding down the sidewalk, we both felt better. Today was one of those rare days in early fall when the weather is nothing short of divine. The sun felt warm on my face, and the breeze was cool enough to be refreshing but not cold enough to raise goose bumps.
The sky was that picture postcard shade of blue that defies adequate description. And the blue looked so crisp against the green leaves that haven’t yet let go of their branches. No one decorates with color quite like God does.
Our Beagle Charlie relaxed once he realized we were going on an adventure and not a doctor visit that would result in a thermometer in his nether region. I’d worried that bringing him along on my walk might be a bad idea, as his past walks on the leash have been challenging.
Charlie is two years old, and up to this point he has had far more energy than common sense. Ruled by his nose, he can’t be reasoned with when he’s on a scent and he seems to always be on a scent. But today he trotted along beside me at a comfortable pace, stopping only briefly to sniff the grass lining the sidewalk.
About 20 minutes from home, we passed by a school where kids were out playing for recess. Charlie whimpered as we walked by, stopping to watch as one little girl stared up at the sky and turned around and around to make herself dizzy. Another group of kids had formed a big circle on the ground, and one kid was walking the perimeter of the circle chanting, “Duck, duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!” I had to hold the leash tight because Charlie desperately wanted to give chase to that “goose” and join the fun at recess.
But I tugged him along, hoping to stay at the “target heart rate” those exercise experts are always talking about. As we walked, grasshoppers jumped across the path. And once we made it to the walking trail, I saw sunlight glinting off a thin spider’s web that seemed to be floating in mid-air, attached to nothing. I stopped and watched the spider anchored to the end of that long silvery string and wondered how he makes his work look so effortless.
Meanwhile, Charlie had buried his nose into a large clump of grass, sniffing so intently that it made me decide his smelling habit must be a lot like my reading habit – when the story is just so good that you can’t tear yourself away. After he’d given that fascinating clump of grass a good “watering,” I coaxed him back onto the sidewalk and we turned toward home. The school bus would be coming over the rise of the road soon to bring my kids home.
As we neared the bus stop, I decided that some days don’t need philosophical questions to analyze or problems to write about or even funny stories to tell. Some days ought to be about sunshine, a crisp blue sky, grasshoppers, kids at play, and a good dog. Sometimes we have to remember to be thankful for a simple “walk in the park.”
Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.
Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography