Saturday, January 26, 2008


It may blow and storm or even freeze for days at a time, but the secret those of us who live on Colorado's Front Range keep hidden from the rest of the world is that it never lasts long and we're always rewarded for our suffering and patience by sunshine and warmth. On average there are 330 sunny days a year here in Denver and even January is not immune to them. Today was one of those days.

By noon the mercury had risen to nearly sixty degrees and I decided Duncan and I needed to spend the afternoon outside, playing in the sun and enjoying the world. I grabbed some library books that badly needed returning, leashed up the boy and off we went. We walked down Bowles, sidestepping the park and navigating our way through a minefield of goose-droppings along the way. Most of them seemed quite old, brown and dusty like chalk and weren't much trouble except in volume. After dropping off the books and cutting across the stiff yellow lawn on the hill behind the library we came out on the lake trail, which was crowded with more people, dogs and strollers than I've seen since the last of the nice Autumn days. The lake, which was mostly drained in November, was low and frozen over, and looked as though a white, cotton blanket has been placed over it. We headed west and stopped by the pet store to visit Aunt Chelsea and grab a bag of Grandma Lucy's Organic Cinnamon Dog Treats. If you haven't tried them, you need to! As my family, friends and coworkers can attest, they're good enough for people to snack on, especially the pumpkin ones. Duncan loves them, too.

We took the lake trail back, moving carefully around the throngs, including the Juicy Buns, who were still garbed in velour warm-ups but had traded their tennis shoes for ugly, furry Ugg boots. The trail was clear of goose droppings but still quite wet, which didn't bother Duncan in the slightest; in fact, he went out of his way to step through every puddle, especially the deep ones, and twice if they were muddy. People around us were flying kites, jogging and roller-blading. The playgrounds were full and the punks had returned to the skate park. The only thing missing were the players on the four baseball fields, where the geese had relocated, fenced in and safe from dogs and children. Flocks and flocks of them wandered through the infield and one tall, loud one with a voice like Bea Arthur barked orders at the rest from just behind home plate.

Much of the snow has melted but there are still large wet patches of it on the northward side of things, so Duncan and I headed over to one of the fields where he could roll around, snort and stomp and be the dog he enjoys being. And watching him gave me the chance to be the person I'm best at being, content in the sunshine, enjoying the day with my best friend.


Lori said...

Sounds like a lovely day! Our climate is hot hot hot in the summer and cold cold cold in the winter, but it's hotter in the summer than most people think, and not as cold (for as long) in the winter. We have a 2-acre fenced yard, and since I have four dogs, walks aren't a regular activity. More "go out in the yard and throw stuff and run around with them" when the mood strikes. Sure sounds like you and Duncan have a wonderful relationship, much like I enjoyed with my beloved Ripley.

NodakJack said...

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, a lways run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. Persevere.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Love unconditionally and forgive frequently.