The Simple Pleasure of Walking Your Dog

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace.” Milan Kundera

Life is busy. Life is fast. The days often feel like a blur, one giant task list with items to check off or push to the next day. Rinse, repeat.

One way I press pause on the rapid motion of the day is by taking my dog for a walk. What I’ve found is that it is one of the simplest, most available pleasures of everyday life.

Not only is walking beneficial to my mental and physical health, it is beneficial to my dog’s. Nothing it seems is more exciting for my dog than when I pull out her leash and harness.

If I could bottle up this joy and drink from it in a cup at moments I am feeling down, I would.

One of the reasons I chose to live where we do is because of the close proximity I have to nature trails and the forest. As a child, when a game of basketball wasn’t to be played, I lived out the hours of each day in the woods and along the streams of Cub Creek. As an adult, though the names of the streams have changed, my routine is much the same. You’ll be hard pressed to find me inside, once my day job is done, before 7:30 p.m.

On a typical walk, my dog and I come across a variety of wildlife: Canadian geese, ducks, woodpeckers, deer, turtles, snakes, red-winged blackbirds, and other water fowl.

We walk slowly, unhurried by life. She sniffs the earth. I take in the sights and sounds of songbirds and crows, and the rambunctiousness of squirrels zig-zagging across the forest floor. Often we are alone on the trail, but not really.

It is in moments such as this I think of my often forgotten connection to nature, the ego-centricity of man and our over-reliance on technology, and ponder questions such as the concept of God and how silly, to me, the thought that God’s house is within the confines of a man-made structure where people venture once, maybe twice a week — but rarely here with his creations: the birds, the bees, the reptiles and insects, the trees, and the gentle flowing water, which is available to us all, always, where the words of God are not written inside a leather bound book, but in the canopy overhead provided by the limbs on massive trees and in the earth and soil beneath our feet.

It is here where the simple pleasures of life reside. When the walking stops, and we rest, back in Eden, as Milan Kundera once wrote.

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2 Comments

A good walk is a refreshing for the soul. I loved walking Jello with your daddy. If we were so exhausted we could hardly move, Jello would walk up to your daddy as he was reclined onto the sofa, and give him a “look” and snap his little self in the direction to exit the living room as to say “Get Up Off That Sofa and Let’s Go Walk” or What’s the Matter With Y’all, Do I Have To Always Remind You That It’s Time To Get Walking!” I have so many fond memories of those evening strolls until one cool, crisp Fall evening as we were walking the loop behind what is now Dollar General and darkness had set in, a GINORMOUS, black spider dropped from a limb within an inch of my face! Jello never had to remind us to go walking again because we walked before darkness set in after that incident!

Walking in nature is tops! Except for the bugs. My summer church (in Maine there are some seasonal churches) has an outside seaside chapel. : )

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