I tie the laces on my well used, dusty brown Rockport walking shoes and clip my walkman belt around my waist; then reach into the closet for a red leash. A call for my golden friend and he gallops up the stairs, followed by an eager , smiling granddaughter. Victoria's face asks the question, and I answer it, "Yes, I'm going for a walk. D'you want to come?"
She nods , eyes bright, and excitedly runs downstairs to get shoes.
"Does Tippy know we're going?" I call after her.
"Oh no! I forgot to tell her," she says, and yells, "Tippy! We're going for a walk!"
Tiffany-Amber emerges from their downstairs apartment and the computer game that she was playing and begins energetically putting on sandals and bike helmet in the garage.
The four of us launch into the evening. I take out my ear buds and fold them into the case of the walkman. The book on CD can wait for a different walk.
We pass a bank of goldenrod, breathtakingly beautiful; tall, gaudily glamorous spikes pointing heavenwards amid rich, green grasses. I regret not bringing my camera, but determine to remember the glory of this moment.
Above us the moon increases in brillance as the twilight gently falls around us. I point out its beauty and shape. I tell the girls that yesterday it was shaped like an American football. Tiffany-Amber laughs, "Tonight it's a soccer ball." Last week on a walk it had been a "cream-sickle" moon and I had explained the play on words and what a sickle is.
The village is as alive with dogs and owners, as a hedgehog is with fleas. As we pass one another; straining canines bark and leap while owners remonstrate and make apologies to one another. Molson whimpers sympathetically at passing pups, and lunges too, until we owners pull our wandering pooches back on course.
The park with its swings beckons. "Can we stop for a while?" the girls beg.
"For a little while; it's getting dark," I say, and find a seat. Bikes are flung down and helmets tossed aside, as two girls, 10 and 11, run, hair streaming, for the swings.
A bouncing beagle named Stanley, and his owner, take a seat close by and he and Molson make tentative sniffs at one another, Molson's ears cocked high and alert.
I calculate the moment when the urge to swing is sufficiently satisfied if not satieted, and call the girls back to the walk. We say goodbye to Stanley.
In the deepening dusk, other less fortunate dogs bark from behind fences and open windows as we pass by, or leap at us from chained posts on front lawns. I say to the girls that Bond Head should be renamed Dogville and they laugh their agreement.
Rounding the bend, close to home again; Molson pauses and looks up expectantly. I laugh and fold his leash and place it in his mouth. It is his routine to proudly trots the last leg of the walk, free of constraint, taking himself home.
Tippy has ridden on ahead and is already home, and Victoria walks her bike beside me, tired.
Goldenrod, golden moon, golden dog. Golden evening.
Psalm 8:3-9 (The Message)
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
5-8 Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden's dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
9 God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.