Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cross Country

"So when I was a kid, I wanted to be an Indian. I learned all about the plants, and what you could eat, what you couldn't eat," I say to Orion as we walk through the woods. "Of course I was in New Hampshire then so I don't know any of these."
He sticks his head into a low growing ivy.
"Don't you love the way it smells out here?" I ask, taking in a deep breath. "I have always loved the smell of the woods."
He trots along.
"You know for being so energized at home, you're kind of slow moving this morning."
I start to skip along the path.
"I have a dog, a dog named Orion, he needs to run so he doesn't kill his mum!" I sing, pulling him behind me. "He has so much energy, and little needle teeth, he is constantly underneath my feet! If only he would hike, a nice long walk, then he will sleep and we can nicely talk!" I continue skipping, till I realize he has put on the brakes.
"Orion, in order for you to be my nice dog we have to get some of your energy out."
He looks up at me.
"You're going to have to hike with me. I know it's muddy."
I look up and see a jogger coming up the path. Yes! I think. This will motivate him.
Sure enough, the runner goes by, chuckling, perhaps because he heard my song, and Orion is off, chasing after him.
"Hey thanks for motivating him!" I say, chugging along after my dog. "Hope you don't mind if we follow."
"No problem!" the guy hollers back.
Jog jog, dodge dodge, mud puddle, mud puddle. Cell phone slamming into my ribs.
"That's good Orion, let's keep up! You just need me to join cross country don't you?"
He's pulling ahead, ears flopping, feet up to his knees covered in mud, his little underbelly wet from the backlash of puddles.
I realize I'm beginning to huff and puff. Huh. When's he going to wear out? I wonder, as I continue my impromptu run. But no, we keep going. I'm suddenly feeling hot. I'm also hoping this guy disappears from view. Finally we reach a fork in the road, and Mr. Speedy has disappeared.
"Oh wasn't that a nice run Orion?" I say, peeling off my coat, untangling his legs from his leash.
"Wonder how long this path is going to be," I say, "We should probably invest in a map of this park."
We walk along, sniffing plants (Orion), listening to birds (Molly).
"Do you hear that sound?" I ask, tuning in to the rat a tat tat in the woods. "That's a woodpecker. The Native American's believe that a woodpecker's feather is good to give to someone who needs to avoid distractions. So I guess I'd give it to you if you had a lot on your mind, distracting you from your goals. But my favorite is the duck feather. Duck feather's are given to travelers because duck's can always find their way home. They are migratory birds." I go on and on as we skip over mud puddles, balance across fallen tree logs.
"You're looking kind of like a chocolate lab." Orion looks at me with an eyebrow lifted. "I know. I took you out here. We'll go visit the river before we go."
"Did you know I use to not like it when the other labs I lived with got all dirty?" He stopped and plopped his butt in the mud. "It's true. I didn't like that they'd get all muddy then sit on me and make my clothes dirty. I think it's different that you're my dog. I kind of accept it as is. Plus you're kind of cute all muddied up."
He whins and doesn't move.
"I know you're tired, but I think this path will actually get us back to where we started and there's no point in turning around when we've come this far." I tug his leash forward.
The runner shows up again, magically as if called.
"Hey! He made it through the mud!" he says, wizing by me.
"Sure did!" And we're off again, the last leg of the race...

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