“It’s become a thoroughfare during this whole pandemic thing, I tell you,” I said to my friend as we finished yet another walk with the dogs this afternoon. “I see people all the time on our mountain now.”
But it was not a complaint for either of us.
She wanted to be outside after a full day of working with a mask on in her restaurant and country store. I loved the idea of company after a full day of working inside with no one else around. Most importantly, the two youngest of our combined four dogs needed to run freely. Chasing after each other burns off infinitely more energy than just a hike would ever do.
We set off on a trail quite close to my house, each dog with a bright orange bandana since bear season has officially started now. After admiring the view from the top, I suggested we go over a little ridge to check some grapes our friends and neighbors have growing.
Just as we were wondering aloud about how to know when they would be ready, what the next steps were, and how one harvests grapes anyway… we realized the grape growers themselves were in the field. As we peppered them with all our questions, another dog appeared. Our Berner greeted her with enthusiasm; she played with this Irish Setter just last week.
As three dogs jumped and chased each other, we humans quickly found common ground. Our conversation started with grapes, and then switched to walking trails. This led me to mention how the Irish Setter’s owner had walked across America—and written a book about it. Then we launched into a practical book study group—before we made it full circle, ending with an invitation for a neighborhood grape harvest potluck on Monday. (If the sugar content is right, as they hope!)
I always know that I live in a special place here. But we don’t always meet each other, and we certainly were not all out walking as much as we are now. One more silver lining of our crazy times…