The Ambler

My husband and I dragged our fourteen year old along on a 6-mile walk on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. A long walk with Mom and Dad was a lot less threatening than a short run with Dad. So, there we were, taking in the scenery, talking, soaking in the late spring sunshine.

And he complained. Are we there yet? You walk too fast. It’s hot. You’re annoying. How have you not broken a sweat?!

Nearly approaching the end, we passed by a very small elderly woman with her very small dog, and he grinned, “Now that’s a good walking speed!”

He demonstrated for us what his walk looks like, probably in a ploy to slow us down, and we debated the correct word for it. Amble? Stroll? Waddle? Is walking even a sport?

He was very funny.

Then today, as the boys and I walked to school, he explained to his brothers how he had suffered so on Saturday. Mom and Dad walk too fast. It was hot. They’re annoying.

And he showed them his walking “style”, short, slow-motion steps. “I take the time to appreciate my surroundings. Look at that beautiful tree! And this chain link fence? It’s a metaphor for humanity linking arms and taking care of each other.”

“Wow, you’re boring to walk with,” said his younger brother.

“But when you walk fast,” now on the defensive, “you can’t think of metaphors!”


A Spring Awakening Thanks to Star

Over the winter, our new puppy Star dug up and ate our sprinkler system, interrupted homework at least ten times a night by stealing the kids’ pencils, left hair in every nook and cranny of the house, and demanded to go on long walks on icy streets.

I was not tremendously please with our adoption.

But now it is spring. The dog only drags me down the street when a small, yippy canine taunts her with its high-pitched yap. We’ve even had a few people ask if she’d like to play with their dog. I smile proudly but admit she is not ready for the sandbox.

But that means she is good enough to fool them! She finally appears to be a normal, well-behaved dog…even if she isn’t! What leaps we have made since bringing her home from the Dumb Friends League in December!

In addition to my pride in her and in myself (I did not let go of the leash and watch her, secretly smiling, run away this winter), I realize that I truly enjoy our walks together. We talk (“you crazy dog, don’t eat that!” or “you don’t need that yippy old girl, just walk away”). We work up a thirst together, downing water as soon as we get home. And we literally stop and smell the flowers. Each of us in our own way.

This spring, I have had the opportunity to watch the crocuses bloom, the white flowers appear on the fruit trees, little purple buds planted by a neighbor beneath his aspens. For the first time, I have noticed the interesting doors some of our neighbors have, the brickwork around some of their windows. I am noticing the college students sunbathing and throwing frisbees in the park, nostalgic about peaceful, no-responsibility Sundays before kids, but still eager to play baseball with my boys. I am absorbing spring in a slow, Sunday stroll kind of way.

And I have Star to thank.