Last year at this time I was off of dog walking duty due to the fact that moving any joint in my body caused pain and at that time in my life, I was just trying to make it through the day. For many people, being relieved of walking duty during Chicago winters would be welcome. Not me. I really missed getting out with my dog each morning. Sure, I sometimes dread getting out in the cold and many times have to rush home because the tips of my fingers and toes are so cold I think I am going to pass out, but I also love the energy I feel when I return home. I love that each day seems to bring something new to me. Twice now Izzy and I have seen the neighborhood fox. Once we were even fairly close and the two of them looked at each other and then moved on. I have enjoyed watching the leaves slowly disappear so I can now see the squirrels nests and watch them chasing each other in the trees. I like meeting fellow dog walkers on the path so our dogs can have a quick sniff with a friend. I also like that with the cooler weather Izzy gets into her crouched play stance when she sees her friends. I like mornings like I had the other day where I start off my walk in the dark and get into deep thought, looking down to make sure I don’t fall on the ice, turn the corner, and realize the sun is coming up. What a beautiful start to my day.
With joints that are now cooperating with me, I have gained new strength and flexibility and have been having a little fun! Izzy and I are now running up and down small hills in the neighborhood rather than avoiding them. I sometimes find myself smiling like a kid as I try to keep up with Izzy. She seems to like it too. I have been balancing on curbs while being pulled by Izzy. I sometimes think my neighbors must think I am nuts, but then I don’t care because the two of us are enjoying ourselves so much.
What I have discovered from walking each and every morning is that every day has something different and wonderful to give to us. When I wake up in the morning, I might be able to predict my entire days activities, but my walks are always unpredictable. Even walking the same path, I never know what critters we will encounter, I never know which of our neighbors we will get to visit with, I never know where my mind will be allowed to venture into with the quiet of the morning.
Knowing that each morning I am now able to walk my sweet Izzy is one of the greatest gifts I have been given with my renewed health. Not only do I enjoy spending time with my border collie, but I also love discovering what gifts nature has in store for the day.