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  • Shawn Hosford

My Dog-Free Walk

The only times I have dog-free walks are when we are dog-less, on vacation, or one of our dogs is injured. This last work week my dog walks were too few and far between due to the smoke in the air and a medical procedure. Finally, Saturday morning I woke up to blue skies and a free morning so I grabbed Moe and we headed off to Carkeek Park. 

Before we got to the park Moe started to limp. I checked her pads and couldn't figure out what was up so I called Joanie (my mother-in-law who is staying with us) to come to the rescue. She obliged, picked us up in her car, and we headed home. Once Moe was comfortably home, I again headed toward the park.

With each step my mind wandered to our future in Montana. I pictured our new home. I pictured us being good stewards of the land. I pictured the many parts and pieces of our daily routine. The freedom of this dog-less walk gave my imagination time to fill in the details of our future life in living color. My vision continued to grow. As I passed the stream in the park, I recalled listening to the same sound on the land in Montana. I smiled while remembering watching similar water move through and around the rocks. The sound and sight gave me such peace. I also passed a beautiful art instillation as I walked toward the Salish Sea. This park has always been one of my favorites.

It was now mid-morning. The park swelled with dog walkers, beachcombers, and a wedding party. As I passed the wedding party I thought of Mark’s and my wedding at Discovery Park almost 29 years ago. My mind flashed through the snap shots of our wedding day and all that we have endured and enjoyed since. Our more recent time together has been filled with too many obligations and not enough room to breathe. I trust this prioritization of our time is shifting as obligations change and lessen.

Being dog-less on this walk also allowed for larger conversations with random strangers and neighborhood acquaintances. Many of my conversations were brief but big. The last conversation I had on my way out of the park was exactly what I needed. I had the blessing of running into Clark, one of the other neighborhood activists I know. We chatted about our air quality, the end of our species, homelessness becoming illegal in Seattle, and where we can go from here. I delight whenever I run into Clark. He gives me hope. Clark reminds me others can see what I see, that my feistiness to stay awake is not in vain, and that we must persist. 

In my upcoming spare time I plan to invite Clark and his wife to join us for food, fellowship, and fuel in September - in celebration of being awake and alive in Seattle. I know that our meal will be filling in more ways than one — it’s sure to fill our souls as well as our bellies.

Do walks bring you peace? Is there some activity you can do to allow your mind to wander? Are there people who remind you of the worthiness of people like you? 

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