Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Walking Wisdom

Due to thunderstorms this morning during our awakening/walk time, Lena was forced to do all her bathroom duties in our own yard while I waited under the porch overhang, holding her leash.  Of course, as soon as it was time for me to leave for work, the clouds had parted and the downpour had ceased.  Forecasts are calling for high temperatures accompanied by high humidity, so our afternoon walk could be a completely different story.

Now that we are doing morning walks, I have started to notice some different things about my neighborhood that were heretofore unbeknownst to me. 

First, I am starting to know the sprinkler schedule.  Ours is a fully automated system, the timing of which is determined by some unknown and all-powerful lawn expert.  For example, I have learned that if I want to take Lena out for her last bathroom break of the day around 10:30 p.m., the sprinklers for my yard will be going in full force and I will need to walk her down the street to find dry grass.  Therefore, it is generally a good idea to wear pants.

At 5:45 a.m., on the other hand, my yard is quite safe.  Unfortunately, this is the time that many of the walkways through my neighborhood are transformed to a bit of a gauntlet set up.  If you time it right, you can run or briskly walk on the sidewalk without getting soaked.  However, trying to do this while tethered to a very curious part-terrier is a bit tricky.  As of late, when in doubt, I opt to walk in the street.  Now that the sun is rising a bit later, this may be a bit more dangerous.  Maybe it is time to invest in some reflective clothing?

The second thing that I have noticed is that there are a LOT of people who leave for work at 5:45 a.m. in my neighborhood.  Frankly, I am a bit impressed.  While I am struggling to get out of bed just to throw on shoes and do the zombie walk with Lena, my neighbors have showered and are ready to operate heavy machinery.  Wow.  It should be noted that I am not the only resident to be up walking the dog at this time.  I am never quite cognizant (or groomed) enough to really want to encounter them up close, so we usually do the head-nod greeting from a safe distance.

In the center of my neighborhood there is a lovely little man-made pond.  I suspect it serves as a drainage area, but during the day in warm months, there is a fountain that sprays and makes it look all nice.  At 5:45 a.m., the fountain does not run.  As of late, there has not been much by way of a breeze in the morning, which means that this lake remains quite still.

This body of water attracts a certain breed of waterfowl known as geese.  I am no ornithologist, and I dare not make the incorrect identification of the breed, but they are large, have black necks and leave green poop all over the place. 

Like I said, the sun is rising later as the days grow shorter, which means that we are walking in near-dark for most of the time.  This makes it much harder for me to note and identify goose droppings that may attract the attention of Lena.  So far we have managed to avoid them, but I know it is only a matter of time before one finds its way to her mouth or the bottom of my shoe.

I don't know if some sort of charm has befallen us for most of the summer, but today was the first morning that we were officially rained out.  I learned my lesson a week ago on why it is not a great idea to go walking in the rain.  It was after work and raining lightly.  I knew Lena needed to get out, so I put on my old rain jacket and some waterproof shoes for a "quick" jaunt.

About three blocks into the walk, it started to pour.  Hard.  Thankfully, Lena made the decision to poop right before this happened, so we were able to feel that we had accomplished something before we ran through sheets of water back to shelter.  My shorts, shoes, jacket and Lena's fur, leash and harness were soaked through.  After laying everything out to dry, I decided not to make that mistake again, if I could help it.  Running through downpours may have been fun in college, but I am not into it so much any more.

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