When Lila and I go on our walks through the preserve, we travel along an asphalt path to get there. That path leads to a cement sidewalk that goes alongside a creek underneath a bridge. Sometimes we’re surprised to see the creek overflowing. The sidewalk is hidden by the walls of the bridge, and we don’t know if we have to go around until we reach the hidden spot. When it’s overflowing, Lila knows we’re going to turn around and walk up the hill, cross the street, and walk back down the other side. With so much rain this year, the creek has wandered and floated above its usual spot to flood the sidewalk many times. Sometimes the water settles back down by the time we get back where we started from. When that happens, we’re able to walk underneath the bridge on our way home. Once in a while, we continue walking a little further along the asphalt path to another entrance, but that’s not the usual way we go.
When we go on these walks, we listen and hear birds chirping, the sound of traffic going by, rustling of leaves, hoots of owls talking back and forth, and little critters scurrying about breaking twigs or crunching leaves. I like when our footsteps make a rhythmic sound, but that doesn’t last long because Lila goes off to sniff something along the path or stops to munch on a blade of tall grass. Not only are the sounds different each day, so is the feeling of the air – either sticky and hot or a little cooler and dry. Lila’s nose twitches a little differently now as new fall odors appear.
On our walks, we always leave the preserve the same way we entered. The time she reminded me the way to go was when we took the longer pathway – the one we don’t usually take. Her snout pointed to lead me to the direction we needed to go.
“Oh, that’s right Lila,” I said, as I patted her on the back. “That’s the way we entered. Good girl!” I was really daydreaming, I thought. It must have been the sounds of the preserve that distracted me!
I’m glad Lila was paying attention. Maybe it’s her way of letting me know that sometimes my dog is smarter than me!