I am dog/cat/house sitting this week. Molly and I go to walk on the beach early each morning while it's still possible to let a dog run free -- I'm talking 7:00 a.m. The no dogs signs are posted but I've seen others out that early, some are even earlier and I only see the foot prints. Molly is a big black part-shepherd, in dog years about my age. She knows where we're going, she know the territory because Rachel walks her there too although not at all every day.
When we get well along the boardwalk through the trees and are about to reach the Y where we can decide, inlet side or ocean side of this long spit of land, I unhook the leash. Molly takes off at a trot that is soon a lope. A lope is a very happy pace -- like a child skipping. Molly is getting playful with me after a couple days of this. Instead of the little short cut from boardwalk to sandy beach, she loped the long way, turned and looked back at me as if to say, Are you coming? No I was going the short way. She didn't care. She disappeared behind a patch of beach roses, then caught up with me when I reached the sand and went dashing ahead again. Everything about her body language said HAPPY. Now and then she paused, nose nearly on the ground, sniffing out another dog or maybe a rabbit that had paused there during the night. A few times she dashed onto sandbars and chased the sandpipers into the air.
Paths from the inlet side to the ocean side are frequent, up through the dune grass. I let Molly choose the path she wanted to take, a little over half way to the end of the mile long beach. Once on the broader beach she ran ahead for the sheer joy of running I think. I have never been a runner, I am more the contemplative stroller especially beside the ocean. Molly's herding instinct sometimes asserted itself even as she was clearly enjoying freedom and her sense of leadership. She paused to look and make sure I was coming along, then she took off again.
I tried to call her to me to put on the leash when I reached the boardwalk. She had already dashed ahead and disappeared around the first turn. I called, she paused occasionally, gave me a Ha! Look at me! glance and ran ahead. She did the same thing yesterday but then came up and let me put the leash on when I stopped to chat a moment with a woman who told me about chasing her lab all over the Town of Dennis the day before -- that same playful, willful doggie attitude!
The entrance to the beach is in a long cul de sac of McMansions, beautifully landscaped whose owners I never see I was not afraid Molly would get hit by a car but did not appreciate her teasing when she ran right around the older, smaller house right at the entry way. Worse, she then decided to explore the side garden of the next, bigger house with a red BIMer convertible in the drive. A dormer window was open, I didn't want to call Molly and wake anyone. Enough, she knew we were close to the parking lot and had had her game. She came trotting around the BIMer and let me attach the leash. We drove home, she went straight to the water bowl. She was hot and tired and ready for a day's rest until I return in the late afternoon for a leash-on walk around the neighborhood. We aging ladies all have our own kinds of fun.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!