A memorial walk February 2, 2017 16:40
There is only one walk I have returned from feeling worse than when I started. That was when Gizmo stuck his head through a fence to befriend a herd of very large, very curious cows. Thankfully the recall training kicked in and with one sharp whistle he was back at my feet. Yeah right, who am I kidding? He yapped and danced with great joy, getting his head further entangled with each lunge and the cows pawed and mooed against the other side as I re-enacted a scene from the Exorcist, my heading spinning 360 degrees emitting shrieks of horror. I probably turned green and would have chucked a priest downstairs had one appeared at that point. Which would have been odd.
After about three months, (ok it was probably three minutes but it felt like that), Gizmo pulled his head back through the fence looking immensely proud of himself. No firemen involved, fence intact. We went home in silence.
Most of the time the walk is a healer, a solace, an inspiration, and lately a mud bath with added twigs and this week signs of impending spring! Yippee!
I had to force myself not to misquote Mr Wordsworth’s lovely ode to the daffodil, or trip along humming about sap rising. Even Bella peeing on the emerging bulbs didn’t dampen my spirit. “Look at those gorgeous snowdrops!” I gushed to the dogs who were sniffing a bin bag and starting to drag out something brown.
However, I wasn’t prepared for the sight of strange, sad fruit hanging from the trees around the next bend in the path. Dozens of tiny wind chimes, crocheted hearts, tiny teddies, plastic dolls and buttons were strung from the bare branches. Each small token remembered a lost child, taken too soon.
Breathtaking. Further on I read the inscriptions on the benches around the lake. The walk had gone from one of joy to one of sad contemplation. Henry was a “real gentleman”. Iris “loved walking around this lake”. James “is forever missed and always loved”. Clouds gathered overhead and it felt colder.
I pulled Hattie away from eating the soggy bread thrown down for the ducks and was about to start back to the car when I noticed the last bench. Drawn to it I suppose because the dedication plaque was a little larger than the previous ones. Boy am I glad I did?! I chuckled like a loon.
Bravo Matt Baker, Bravo! Then I noticed a pair of abandoned spectacles on the seat. You couldn’t make it up, and honestly I didn’t set it up, it was like he had only just left.
Oh go on then Mr Wordworth if you must.
“For oft when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
p.s. New dog jumpers now available for your chilly spring walk