I don’t run every day. Usually my dogs and I run a couple of days in a row, then take a day off. Rarely I’ll run three days in a row but leaving Finn home one of those days, which breaks my heart, seeing his sad eyes as Conall and I head out without him. I tell Finn – and myself – that it preserves his ability to keep running for another few years. With Finn, 12 in December, entering his senior years – although you’d hardly know it based on his enthusiasm for running – I’m careful to not let him overdo it.
So I incorporate lots of “rest days” into our running life. Our rest days, though, include some sort of morning walk, whether in the forest or along a country road in the valley. At least two miles, sometimes four, the dogs following their noses, leaping after imaginary voles or chasing squirrels up trees. Every morning, every day, we either run or walk.
This morning was a rest day. The boys and I walked along our favorite valley road, out and back along a one mile stretch of pavement (rare around here where gravel roads are the norm, and welcome in shoulder/mud seasons). There’s little traffic, only one ranch among the pastures, and both sides of the road are lined with wide ditches full of tall grasses, hiding voles for the dogs to try to flush. The boys leap, dig, run, sniff and sometimes eat something disgusting. They love this routine, never seem to be bored by it.
To keep my own senses engaged while walking with the boys along this relatively short stretch of road, I focus on the landscape. Seasons are distinct here, and watching them come and go, with all of their changes provides endless fascination. I take gobs of photos during these walks, and enjoy editing them once back at the house. There’s always something new to see, a new angle or aspect.
The fog was thick at daybreak. I waited for it to lift but it was stubborn and the boys impatient. When it finally thinned, we headed out. While it wasn’t terribly cold, the fog allowed a thick frost to drop overnight, adding sparkling white ice crystals to the plants, fence posts and barbed wire lining the road. The rising sun worked hard to burn through the remaining fog, slowly melting away the layer of frost. The landscape feels smaller, more intimate, in these conditions. I let my mind and camera focus more close-in. The scenery is so devoid of color now that many of the photos appear to be black and white.
Feature black and white photo: a green metal gate, dripping with melted frost, frames a fog-filled pasture.