October 12, 2014
Every morning I take a walk with Smudge.
I did this in NYC too, because dogs need to walk, but it was different there. The city was waking up. There was noise, combustion, horns, people yelling, tires on asphalt, trucks screaming by, people filling up the sidewalks, moving forward and around each other, pool balls slamming into and around each other. You have to pay attention in NYC, to the people around you, to the walk and the don’t walk signs, to the 10 things that are waking you up, pushing you out into the world.
The morning walk is different here in Vegas. The air isn’t hot yet at 8am. It’s still and cool. The neighborhood is quiet, except for the pull of school children running to the school down the street. There are a few people out, piling into cars, putting their garbage cans on the curb, sweeping the driveway, watering the cacti. The woman with the really incredible garden is already on her knees in the hard ground, planting something new. She waves and I tell her how much I admire her garden.
But mostly it’s me. My feet on pavement. The dog slobbering in bushes, sniffing lamp posts, the two of us moving fast, down street after street, making maze-like turns. Sweeney to 7th to Bracken to the next and the next. It’s just us, and palm trees, and blue cloudless skies and my thoughts, my writing brain moving down into a slower gear, my legs loving that I am moving.
I think about that story I am writing. How I will start that paragraph. My brain clears the way. Characters pop in. I can’t wait to get to the keyboard.
But I also want to walk. One more street. 6th, by the house where Elvis used to live, then Oakey, then back to 10th. The chihuahuas bark at us from behind fences as we walk by. Smudge and I get the whole neighborhood riled up. Sometimes we stop on 9th and visit Bubba, the Australian cattle dog, they run circles in the front lawn, poop, sniff each others butts, and then we are on our way again.
I never had a walk like this in NYC. This big sky, this quiet, the way my brain slips down into a place where it waits for the words to come.
Vegas and I have had our turmoil. I’ll tell you about that some time. It was a rough start. But I am starting to love her.
PS: For those of you not following along on social media, the little black pug in the photo is Smudge’s new little sister, Roxie. She is a nine week old. She isn’t out walking with us yet, but she will be soon. The more dogs, the merrier!