There is one thing that I have learned since moving to Scotland and that is: you can never count on the weather. If you leave your home and it's sunny, bring along an umbrella anyway, or if it's raining, you may want to wear layers so you can strip them off if it gets too warm. I've also learned that if you're going to let the weather dictate your life, you will never leave your house. So, yesterday morning when I took Hermione out for her first bathroom break and it was raining, I was fully prepared to have to get wet when walking her later in the morning. It was certainly a surprise when I left the flat a few hours later to feel the sun shining strongly. I had dressed for rain and immediately started peeling off those layers I mentioned because the sun was so warm.
The day before we had some crazy rain, mixed in with some hale and thunder and lightning and so Hermione had had a very short walk in the morning. It's one thing to brave a bit of rain, it's another to go prancing about in lightning and hale storms. Even if I had tried to go out for a walk, I think Hermione would have tried to drag me right back inside. Knowing that her walk had been cut short the day before and that I was heading out later on for a swim and she would have to go into her crate, I thought I'd make our walk a bit longer than usual.
We walked our usual path, meeting a few cyclists, runners and other walkers along the way. The paths are pretty quiet around 10 AM and so I was able to enjoy the sunshine and birds fairly undisturbed. Hermione pranced along beside me, trying to drop her nose to the ground a bit more frequently than normal. After it rains scents really come out for the dogs and she always is all nose the day after a good rain.
We meandered up to a local park and I stepped off the paved pathway to let Hermione frolic in the grass for a while. When she is on leash walking on the paths, she is expected to walk nicely, but at the park I let her have a bit more fun. She always makes me laugh because she springs after flying objects and when she comes to the end of her leash, she stands on her hind legs looking after her "prey;" be it a leaf, blade of grass or a bug. I've thought that I should invest in a flexy lead, only to be used in a field for play time so that she can have a bit more running freedom.
After our little romp in the park, I wasn't quite ready to go back and after a quick time check, we took a different branch of the path we've never walked down before. I've run down this particular path on occasion when out training, but running it with a sighted guide and navigating it with a white cane are two different things. This path has also just been paved and much easier to use a cane on than some of the older paths. The smooth surface lets the cane just glide over the top, whereas, the more broken, jagged paths catch the cane. These catches often result in shoulder jarring, elbow wrenching, gut stabbing or a combination of all three. This is why I prefer to use a guide dog.
We strolled along, the sun soaking into our skin and/or fur. It was so relaxing that I hardly noticed that we had been walking for almost an hour; and that's an hour one way. As we wandered under yet another under pass-there are a number of these crossing above these paths because the paths used to be the tram tracks-I figured I should check the time. I was supposed to meet a friend to swim at 11:30. Since we had left the flat around quarter to ten, I thought we had plenty of time, but when my phone screeched electronically at me that it was 10:43, my state of relax quickly vanished.
I could not believe that we had been just sauntering along for almost an hour and I hadn't even noticed. It was so enjoyable and peaceful walking with Hermione, with the sun shining and the quiet that only a heavily treed area can bring. Everyone we had met had been in great moods and I guess I had just gotten into a groove, or the zone as we athletes like to call it, and time had just got away from me. I think it's really important to have something that gives you that kind of release.
Prolonged stress can have so many adverse effects on your body that somewhere along the way, it's important to find an activity that just lets you breathe and forget what time it is. I think, humans on a whole and I'm not excluded from this, are really good at thinking ahead and being worried about what's happening next. As opposed to just being in the moment and really experiencing it. This theory could be applied to many aspects of life; just living in the moment and really experiencing it because at the end of the day, it's our experiences that we have left and we are the ones who shape them and take them for what they are. Yes, I was just walking my dog. Certainly it is not life altering, but that feeling of just living in the moment and experiencing it was so incredible and definitely not done on purpose. I'm surely not a great philosopher, nor have I been trained in some specialised field of psychology, but sometimes it's really refreshing to actually experience life instead of leaping ahead; especially when it just sneaks up on you.