I frequently feel motivated on summer mornings to move the old body and burn a few calories. During summer break I have the luxury of sleeping past five. I find that 7:30 is generally a good wake up time. If I'm sufficiently organized I can get my morning exercise taken care of before the Mid-Atlantic humidity makes it impossible to move.
Fiona, my border collie mix, is better than any personal trainer. She follows me with her body and her eyes, to make sure I've selected the sneakers and socks. She will not let me out of her sight until I have donned the baseball cap, sprayed insecticide and started in the general direction of Sam's lane.
Our walk is pretty routine. Sam's lane is one quarter of a mile in length, wooded and private. Sam, a retired U.S. Army drill instructor, who served three tours in Vietnam lives at the end of the lane in an old farm house. Sam bought the "farm" about twenty five years ago and planned extensive and ambitious renovations. Unfortunately, heart disease, diabetes and strange maladies from his Vietnam tours have stolen his health and prevented Sam from "finishing" anything. He does not walk very well but can climb onto his backhoe. It seems that Sam's greatest joy is to dig holes. He has an extensive pond system complete with waterfalls behind his barn.
Normally, I try to walk up and down the lane with the dogs unleased about four to five times. This enables the dogs to run about chasing things in the woods. Some days I allow them to swim in Sam's ponds. Some days we walk though the trails in the woods. Black raspberries are in season now. I found a new patch. Sometimes I bring along a container to share with the rest of the family.
Today the walk was interrupted by death. Living in the woods is what it is. We have creatures. Creatures fight, creatures die. I am not quite sure which type of creature crept it's last but I spotted the turkey vulture before I smelled the carcass. Fiona tore after the buzzard, while my intellectually challenged golden retriever Freja tromped through woods, hoping to roll in the odorous product.
My walk was ruined. The smell was overwhelming. I find it hard to enjoy nature when it smells bad. Perhaps I will have to wait a week or so to allow the vultures and the carcass beetles to clean up the mess a bit. Perhaps then I will find an interesting skeleton to clean up use as a drawing prop for my students. I already have quite a collection of deer, fox, and raccoon skulls. I'm wondering what I'll find next.