Saturday, September 5, 2015

A walk on my birthday

"What will you do on your birthday?" she asked.

To start the day, Niko and I went on a three-and-a half mile saunter around the streets of the town. I love walking Niko; he makes stops for each person or dog we meet along the way. If he sees a likely human, he will stand his ground and stare, until she or he, dog optional, stops to greet him. Should they not pick up the signal, he watches the poor benighted suspect recede into the distance and then returns his mind and feet to our journey.

There are many sights and, for Niko, scents along the way. We amble and consider different aspects of the landscape. He prefers rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks, but he was mightily confused by this rabbit tucked away under a hedge. He backed away, extended his snout to top inquiry mode, bristled, and finally responded to my commanding summons to "Leave it!" and to "Let's go!"

As he was happily sniffing away and responding to the invisible call of the wild things, we passed a small stand of mayapple in a struggling, drought-struck garden; mayapple is a poisonous plant, but a delicate one when it is in flower. There were many different kinds of hydrangea in bloom; one I thought was particularly lovely, one just plain confusing, and several others in between.

We passed idiosyncratic front-yard art, stopped to check out a Scottie, a yellow lab, a recently-shorn golden retriever, and a miniature chihuahua. 

At one point one of Niko's beloved boys from down the street drove by and called out the window of the car to us; a friend calls this boy and his brother "Niko's empire." I thought I would never get Niko past that spot, but the car turned into the schoolyard and he eventually decided he would accompany me onward.

Hostas are the national plant of our town, and we passed lots and lots of hostas in various states of decline. Hosta can be quite beautiful, and that may be why it is so widely planted, but mostly, people plant with hopes of this (see left), but in fact, what they get, is this (see right).

We turn a last corner and are reminded that life  emerges even in the most untoward places.

We arrive home to discover that the second morning glory of the season has come into bloom by the back gate. It is time for breakfast – poached egg on toast or kibble.

And that is how the day started. It was followed by BLTs for lunch and lobster rolls for supper, friends, a new squeaky toy for Niko, and much pleasure in between and all around.