Sunday, October 4, 2009

Goodbye Beloved Trail

Leaving Colorado is in our sights and I am reminded of the things that I will probably never do again. This morning I walked the dogs. I have walked this 4 mile loop of the Cherry Creek bike path hundreds of times in the last 8 years. The dogs know it well. This is the last walk I will be able to enjoy the colors of fall. There is yet time for sunrises and big sky.

My IPhone can't quite capture the way the golden light plays off the trees or Baxter's brown velvet coat. I am reminded of a time I walked the dogs in the fall. It was a classic beautiful Colorado fall day. Baby blue sky, a coolness to the air; crisp yet warmed but the sun. Passing by a clump of golden cottonwoods a breeze came and blew the leaves off the trees. Their golden faces reflecting the sunlight and making everything sparkle. I was struck by the beauty and had to stop and watch. I found myself raising my arms to the sky, tilting my face up as well; feeling the warmth of the sun and twirling with my eyes closed! It was fantastic!

I go out the gate that Dan put into the back split rail fence.

Walk down the well worn path that Dan keeps mowed for me.

Pass the iron bridge that goes over Cherry Creek.

I have met many people on this path.

The nice lady whose walking stick has indian totems running its length. The older lady who stopped me on the trail, sung me a poem about Jesus she wrote and gave me the paper she had written it on. The overweight grumpy couple who rode their bikes and got tweaked because the dogs were off leash. The older guy who reminds me of Steve Small walking his 2 dogs that bully mine. Tom and his golden Chloe, we always stop and chat for 10 or 15 minutes while Baxter runs around barking at me to move on. The old guy, who had diabetes and rode on his roller blades every day to keep it at bay. This is ranch country and we walk on a working ranch. One spring day while Dan was walking the dogs, a mother cow walked up behind him and shoved him in the back with her nose, protecting her calf I guess. The "doinking" deer, who, alone at sunrise would bounce around radiating joy because he was alive. The rattlesnakes. One morning, we were walking the dogs and the sun was coming up, lighting up everything. We looked across and there were hundreds of spider webs forming a lacy patchwork throughout the cattails. This morning as I was rounding my favorite bend, lined with trees and wild flowers I saw 2 deer loping out of the brush and a coyote lumbering after them. All the dogs, animals and people enrich our walks.

Baxter and Lucy love getting into the creek. They drink greedily on hot days (their shots are current) Lucy slowly walking and drinking letting the current guide her. Baxter running as fast as he can up and down the creek bed, splashing and generally having a great time. One time, the creek was really full from a lot of rain. Lucy was hot and thirsty and went down in a place that was unusual for her. She got caught up in the current and started to float down stream. I thought I was going to have to go in but I walked along beside her until she came upon a bank and got out. We get home, I rinse them off and give them a towel dry which for some reason, they both love!

Lucy loves the towel dry, she hates getting her picture taken!

So many times I have walked this trail. In joy, sorrow, love, anger, through tears, running it to burn some calories, listening to the birdsong, the rustle of the leaves, the hum of insects. Rain and hail pouring down (Dan came and rescued me with an umbrella), impossible wind, sun relentlessly pounding down. Snowshoeing when we got dumped on, Lucy walking in my tracks, Baxter sinking to his chest trying to make his own. I have felt deep gratitude for this trail and will always be grateful for its presence and the gifts it has brought me.