Friday, October 12, 2012

A Walk With My Dog

A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.  ~O.A. Battista

I have a dog. Her name is Dominoe. She is happy, smart and very friendly. She likes a good walk.
I too like a good walk, especially under clear blue summer skies. When the fall and winter roll into town I hibernate. I burrow deep into my home, refusing to come out unless there is a promise of hot chocolate and a roaring fire in the fireplace. Since Dominoe joined our family a couple of years ago I have changed my mind about getting outside in the colder seasons. I do not relish the prospect of frozen fingertips and a cold settling into my nose but Dominoe insists we go. I love her so much that I oblige her.
The air this morning was cool and crisp but the skies were blue and the sun was kind so we took a walk down by the lake. The water was calm and quiet, a good sign as it is usually windy along the shoreline and wind means cold.
We met my friend and her dog Sadie. After the initial nose sniffing and running in circles (my friend and I opted for a hug instead) we started our way towards the path by the water.

Dominoe in the foreground, Sadie further along.

The lesson I learned along my walk today was how important it is to embrace the happiness that little things in life afford and not to let anyone take that from you.
Dominoe and Sadie were overjoyed at the chance to be out, with us, with each other, by the lake and who knows with what else. Their tails were wagging and they ran in zigzags across the path, on the rocks, the grass, under trees and into the water. They stopped to sniff, to smell the flowers. They chased each other and Dominoe tried to sneak up on a pair of grey geese who were resting before their inevitable flight south.
My friend and I let the dogs free of their leashes so as not to hinder their adventure and in order to give them the freedom to roll around in their happiness...and unfortunately in a dead fish by the shore.
We found happiness in our walk as well. We admired the view and clambered along the rocks alongside our little friends. We were happy to talk. We sat by the water gazing out at the vista while the dogs snuggled in to our warm laps We were happy and in love with our fur people. And they were secure and at peace with our presence. (Read Out On A Leash by Shirley Maclaine for more on fur people).

My friends.
 It doesn't take much to please a dog. A blend of love and affection, some food and water and a nap after a good long walk is all they need in life. Humans on the other hand demand so much more. Of all the choices I had this day to find happiness, the best decision was to walk with my friends. The happiness I unearthed along the shore will carry me through for the rest of the day. The memories, I will hold close to my heart forever.

"Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?"  ~Robert Brault,

Depending on your point of view, the horizon on the great lake Ontario is endless. So too are our possibilities in love and life based on the small joys we encounter in a day. Take a lesson from a walk with a dog and stop to smell the grass and flowers, and even the dead fish.
Life does not have to be any more complicated than that, and happiness could not be simpler to find.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Walk Through Downtown Kingston: A Photographic Essay

A walk is a beautiful thing. It has been praised by many who write. We walk for exercise, to sight see, to commune with nature.We walk for the necessity of getting from one place to another. We walk with our children, our dogs, our friends and loved ones. We walk for the peace and some walk for the challenge. In the space of our lives we traverse a variety of terrain and from this we learn life lessons.  

I began my walk atop Fort Henry Hill.

Walking is a tool for clearing space in our heads, like a scythe clearing a field of wheat. The more we walk the more space we have, then the thinking begins. Artists find walking allows space for creative thoughts to meet and reproduce. Philosophers and the devout walk to commune with their thoughts or with their gods. Many walk when they are angry. They walk away from the door they just slammed and into the night until the space in their head clears and embraces the emotions.

The view from whence I came. This is where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River, and where the Thousand Islands begin.
 We walk to and fro, we pace until that firmament that is our mind has cleared the clouds of judgement.
Today I walked. Just for the beauty of it. Just because I could. Just because I cannot take for granted the nature that surrounds my hometown. I submit to you the first of many walks I will share; the first of many thoughts.  

I used to row in high school. I took a moment to remember this bridge which we rowed under to get from the bay to the lake. It is so low that we had to lay back to fit underneath!

A peek at the historic cannons lining the waterfront.

The old limestone wall surrounding the old stables of Fort Frontenac.



Kingston has many plaques.

 My walk today was a real life lesson in history. I trailed my hands along the limestone walls and read the plaques.

Wolfe Island, one of the Thousand Islands, is also full of history and just a twenty minute ferry ride from downtown Kingston.

The bottom of Princess St. I walk up and down this street frequently
looking at the beautiful window displays and buying books and chocolate!


City Hall

Morrison's Restaurant and Kingston Market Square. Two of my favourite landmarks.

Again, the old meets the new.

An artist's alley. Note the iron laundry.

Kingston is said to be the most haunted city in Canada.

It is said that this limestone passage way is haunted....

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Walking to these places was worth a thousand thoughts.

As I walked, the clouds rolled in. My body signalled that I needed practice. My total ramblings - which included some window shopping - lasted almost three hours and I walked close to 7 kilometres.
With this new blog I will be adding when I can a link to map quest for those of you interested in my walks.
Thank you for walking with me today.