Always Something to See

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.

country road and pasture
A valley road, the boys searching the ditch grass for voles.

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.

cattails, pasture
Frosty cattails.
I edited this photo to be black and white since it almost was in real life.
dog, fence, pasture
Conall photobombed, but his bright orange vest highlights how little color exists naturally in this frosty, foggy landscape.
barbed wire fence
Even barbed wire gains beauty when covered by frost.
frost, fence, pasture
And weeds I’d have pulled from my own field look stunning encased in frost.

Feature black and white photo: a green metal gate, dripping with melted frost, frames a fog-filled pasture.

12 thoughts on “Always Something to See”

  1. It’s so hard leaving one of the pack behind and even sadder to see them staring out the window when you return. It’s been a year of increasing exercise intolerance for Sheba who is now 13 first limiting her runs then her hikes and now her walks. I can feel the cold crisp air in your pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t envy you, those truly senior years, our canine companions slowing down so significantly. Based on your posts and photos, it seems that Sheba’s a lucky girl, enjoying quite the adventurous outdoor life thus far, with lots of freedom to be off leash.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She’s had a great life!! Problem started this time last year when we went snowshoeing. Nothing strenuous. She was so sore after she didn’t move for 3 days, developed a UTI, and went into septic shock. We nursed her back but have gone through similar events every couple months. She was down to running 2 miles, then 1, then to the mailbox (1/4 mile), then no running. Two weeks ago she had a bad reaction to walking a 1/4 mile. When she recovered from that, got an infection in her leg and was almost septic again. Spent Saturday cleaning and draining the wound. But, she’s bounced back again and was running out the door yesterday barking at squirrels (although she is so blind she has no idea where they are). When she goes, we know she has led a full life and we will have had closure.


      2. Wow; she’s a tough one! Sorry for all the health challenges, for her and for you guys. Hard to keep a runner down, though, eh?! Sounds like she’s earned a retirement full of barking slow squirrels up trees.


  2. Like almost all of the other commentors, I loved your photos! We don’t get much frost here in Southern California! It is amazing to me that there is still a place in this world where you can just walk and let your dogs enjoy being off-leash. You are very blessed.


    1. Thank you! And yes, believe me, after living in Seattle most of my life, I know how lucky I am to now live where my dogs have so many nearby, safe places to be off leash and just be dogs. Lots of challenges to living in rural Idaho, but offering my dogs a great lifestyle isn’t one of them 🙂


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