This morning Kenya, Tango and I set out at 6:30 and walked for a mile or so along Mountain Road before turning to return home. It was a lovely cool morning ... not even a hint of the enervating heat and humidity that have drained me of my essence lately. As I walked I followed Alain deBotton's advice ... I paid attention. And I discovered once again that those who pay attention reap rewards.
On one side of the road are farmers' fields; on the other, bush that slopes sharply down to a stream. We could hear it far below us and the dogs would like to have been free to explore it and get a drink, but Mountain Road is not Pike Lake Road. There is traffic occasionally on Mountain Road and people drive fast and carelessly, usually making the assumption that they won't meet another soul.
Mixed forest or scrub brush grey with road dust doesn't usually merit much of my attention, but today I noticed the different trees ... oaks, sumac, poplars shivering in every breath of wind, some enormous cedars, their branches drooping with the weight of seed pods, a tree whose branches were completely festooned with what looked like grape vine. I picked one of the fruits in order to examine it later to see whether it was an unripe plum or a crab apple.
On the farmer's side of the road an apple tree long gone wild yielded a bounty of almost ripe fruit. The dogs remained still in the culvert, fooled into thinking they were prisoners because I had looped their leashes over a twig that could never have held them back had they decided to test it, but maybe they were just happy to stay close to me.
Tango is like most of the dogs I look after; he stays very close, as if afraid I too will abandon him. While they waited patiently, I gathered enough apples to make applesauce, and carried them home in one of the bags all dog walkers carry.
Golden rod, chicory, and the blood red of the sumac provided the only respite from the green of the vegetation and the dust of the dirt road, but even the greys and greens showed a range of hues. I almost picked up another rock for Teddy's cairn. It was beautifully shaped and pink mottled the grey, but it was too heavy to carry back. By now I was carrying the bag of apples and holding the leashes of two large dogs who outweigh me, and it was likely that the visiting greyhound would be awake by now. His appearance always startles the dogs. I have a feeling that they can't quite figure out what kind of animal he is. At any rate I was not sure I could manage to hold them back if I carried anything else, so I left the rock for another day.
It was a lovely walk ... and ... for a change, I was able to see the trees in the forest . Almost made me want to spend a few weeks traveling the northern route to Thunder Bay again ... a route that takes you past endless miles of northern Ontario scrub brush ... this time paying attention to the details.