I wasn’t much in the mood for an early morning walk this morning. I told Sunshine that we’d go around the block, and that would be it until later today. Sunshine had other plans for me.
Walking up the street towards town, we have three choices. We can go straight to the traffic light and turn right to walk up a lovely wide sidewalk lined with trees and old-fashioned street lamps – very picturesque. We can then either double back around the block to home, or continue on past the old textile mill, then make a wide arc through town, making about a two mile circle. Third, we can cross Alcovy Street and turn left before reaching the traffic light. This route leads to Childers Park, which I believe is the essence of heaven for Sunshine. My plan was for the shorter trip this morning.
Sunshine didn’t get my memo. When we got to the decision-making spot, she pulled to the left ahead of me, telling me in no uncertain terms that we WERE going to the park. I couldn’t convince her otherwise. She’d hear none of my complaints or rationalizations for a short walk this morning. I simply couldn’t force her to go the other direction.
Sunshine led the way. She knows the route to Childers Park, and guided me as if I’d never been there before. I think that if I were blind, she would lead me there with no problem. We stopped at the four-way stop at the Baptist Church, where she looked both ways before leading me across. Stopping only once to pee in her favorite ivy garden, she was on a mission – ears back, tail down – not even stopping or yanking at the leash when a squirrel dashed by in front of us.
One-half mile down the street is the entrance to the park, and in we went. Sunshine was satisfied. Her ears perked up, and her tail took its “I’m happy” position. Sounds and smells galore for this young lass! Again, she led the way. The park has paths that zig and zag through trees, a dog park, a small meadow, a tiny creek, and park benches for an occasional rest. There were no other people or dogs in the park this morning. I let her take me where she wanted to go. While she paused to sniff, I listened to the birds singing. While she watched squirrels darting to and fro, I noticed the long shadows the morning sun was casting. While she stopped to examine a dead stump, I looked toward the sky and watched the puffy clouds drift lazily above. When she perked up her ears at the sound of a distant leaf blower, a prayer from my childhood bubbled to the surface of my thoughts.
“Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
Thank you, God, for everything.”
It was time to go home. Again, Sunshine made the decision which exit to take out of the park. We went through the ancient grove of pecan trees, past the little white church on the corner, up the hill, and back to the four-way-stop. In a perfect heel, Sunshine was now content and not pulling one bit. We strolled back down the street toward our house.
Sometimes I believe that Sunshine is my spirit guide.
This morning, I am sure of it.