December 13th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances

Morning Walk

The mornings are hazed with lingering fog. Sometimes it rains, an irregular, light drizzle. Sometimes the sky is still pinked with dawn overstaying its time, and contrails feather its expanse. Nearby, a fox darts through the trees, a rabbit corpse dangling from its jaw, all in vivid color. A meadow opens up, and a herd of small black-feathered birds dart in jerky steps across the grass, always, always heading southwards.

The road curves into a long straightaway, and here are the dog walkers. They come in handfuls and crowds, a trio of shaggy English sheep dogs, a long tawny pug which I briefly mistake for a chicken at a distance. Their people are purposeful, but the dogs are in no rush. Some dash off for sticks, but not far. A German shepherd strays to rush a pond of ducks, to his walker's dispair.

The sky is clear of buildings, and I could be in the middle of the countryside, a long ways from anywhere. The long tree-lined straightaway, framed with vistas, was made for carriages and lone horseback riders. Further along it loops into a drive, bringing horse-drawn vehicles to the doors of the manor house. The landscape was crafted for another time, another lifestyle, and that lifestyle seems a little closer when immersed in a place made for it.

After so many weeks, arriving around the same time each morning, I'll miss the elderly couple, he slow and inexorable, she helped along by her cane, always quiet and polite and friendly, smiling to me as I pass. On the last morning, she paused a moment, for a comment on the weather. And I agreed, for it really was lovely.