A Simple Walk

“It’s hot you guys. I thought we’d go later.

Jumping around. Yearning eyes. Back and forth to the back door. More yearning eyes. Puppy pose, which is “dog” for “Please!!!!”


Paw on my leg.


Out the backdoor. Peeking inside to see “Does she mean it?” Relief when they see I’m putting on my shoes.

“C’mere, Teddy. Get your coat on. Teddy sits and patiently waits until his harness is buckled together. I clip a little LED light to the front for night walking. It’s not night, but evening before last, I wished I’d had done that. I recently got him a leash that attaches to a belt I wear around my waist. It works, it’s handy but it doesn’t have the simplicity of a leather lead.

I load my pockets with wallet and cell phone and we’re off. But where? As I drive by the lake, I see it’s empty of people. “Maybe?” Then I think, “Shriver/Wright?” but someone’s there, and. here in Heaven I have the luxury of NOT walking where there are other people — at least of starting a walk without other people around. Someone is there, I turn around and look over at the larger wildlife area to my left, “Hmmmm….” Last time it was very unpleasant. Millions of horseflies and heat, but today?

I drive up the dirt road under the cottonwood trees and park in the empty parking lot. Hunting season for waterfowl doesn’t start until October 8 or so.

Out come the dogs and we hit the trail.

It’s beautiful, a late summer day with a light cool breeze blowing in my face. I know when I turn around and face the sun, it won’t be as pleasant but live in the moment, right?

The whole Rio Grande wetland world is green. A couple of ducks cruise slowly over the surface of one of the slough’s bigger ponds. To my right, across the irrigation canal, is a herd of beautiful black Angus cattle. I stop to watch them. One of them notices me, takes a few steps forward, toward me, and stops. I hear my mom in my head, “Cattle are so curious.” It’s true. Unless there are calves involved in need of protection, they ARE curious. I hear a voice in the distance and see the most distant steers begin a slow trudge toward a barn. I think of my mom, again, and how, long ago, we sometimes, drove out of Denver to a spot that’s now under C470, where we watched a herd of cattle line up and walk home in the evening. Raised on a farm in Montana, she loved being outdoors, but she would not go alone and so she lived more-or-less trapped by fear in her condos. 23 years after her death, she’s still a mystery to me.

Teddy is VERY curious. He smells the cattle; he can’t see them for the willows that block his view.

There is no sign of autumn anywhere along the cottonwood horizon by the river, but the flowers are done. The sunflowers are brown and filled with seeds. Summer’s lavender/pink bee flowers are nothing but a memory. The milkweed pods have mostly opened their dry husks and sent the future off on the wind. It is Chamisa season and they are covered with yellow blossoms. I think that along the river the wild asparagus might be golden then think, “No, not yet.”

We can’t go far. I didn’t bring water and Bear is a snow dog and Teddy is black, so at .65 miles we turn around. The sun blasts my face and I put on my sunglasses, but they are really no help. A hat would’ve been smart, though. From time to time I turn back into the cool breeze and take in the view. Teddy is learning how to walk with Bear and me.

Training a dog is mostly a matter of doing the same thing in the same way over and over. You don’t think of it, but if you leash your dog and walk with him/her at a certain distance from your leg, pretty soon the dog gets it. “I walk here,” and that’s what they do. Bear likes to stop on walks and smell the air. I like to stop and look at scenery. These stops often involve Bear leaning against me and yesterday, we stopped, and my little Teddy, 25 pounds of energy and enthusiasm, leaned against my left leg as Bear, 75 pounds of calm and ferocity, leaned against my right. I thought, looking at barren Mt. Blanca under a thunderhead, “This is pretty good,” and that was an understatement.


17 thoughts on “A Simple Walk

  1. It’s a wonderful time of the year for a walk were my thoughts today (although I did it with wheels). I only know the Rio Grande from cowboy films, but I would love to go with you, so I did it by facebook/WordPress.

    • The river is nicer. And there are parts of the slough with more water circulation that are nicer. The water here is pretty yucky by now after the cattle have done the weed trimming for a few months and the river is down and not sending anything fresh into it. Giardia.

  2. Time well spent. We had a similar walk today. Sun hot, but the breeze was fall cool. Some of the shrubbery was starting to turn colour. Never sure how to dress.

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