A walk on the wild side

I took my usual 5-mile walk today. On the way up Vine Street I was mostly anticipating the mile-long section where I do my running. The wind was strong and threatened to steal my hat a few times. I didn’t do a lot of observation until my run was over and I started to cool down.

The running was harder today, mainly because I ran it faster. I hadn’t intended to, but that’s how it turned out. When I topped the hill by the golf course I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I was already winded, and had another half mile to go. The temporary downhill felt good, and as I headed to the top of the second rise I knew I would make it. But, it still wasn’t going to be easy. Mostly willpower pushes me at those moments. The stress is felt in my stomach as I push beyond my comfort zone and then a little more. Today was 13 seconds better than yesterday: 9 minutes and 51 seconds. Tomorrow will be a resting day. I will walk and not be weary. No running.

The walk back was filled with wildlife – some dead, but most of it alive. A squirrel, a sparrow, and a deer have met their demise on that little stretch of back road. I can ignore the first two, but the last one forces itself upon my senses, even when my eyes are closed. It isn’t pleasant, and I hope someone will haul it away soon.

As I walk past the tall grass, wild rye, and alfalfa, its periodic rustling makes me wonder what causes the noise. It’s most likely a combination of grasshoppers, mice, and lizards. I saw my first lizard today as it scurried up a dirt embankment.

Several dozen large dragonflies were hunting above the blacktop for a hundred yards or so. I’m not sure what they were finding. I stopped for a moment to see if any other creatures were flying around, but nothing else appeared. Whatever the prey was, the dragonflies were really excited about it, and they had brought friends and family to celebrate.

A half dozen juvenile magpies were high on the hill, cavorting with starlings and making a racket. I assume they are young because of their size and their scruffy plumage. They also sport a slightly shorter tail. Instead of fooling around, maybe they could get started on making that deer disappear. I won’t be holding my breath… unless I’m close to the deer. A little quail flew off before I could get a better look. It’s the first one I’ve seen on that road. In contrast, the doves are plentiful.

The wild rye is makes a sea of yellow in every vacant log, and along the sides of the road. Last week the ripe, golden heads were bent over, weighed down with their payload. This week a good portion of the heads have been broken in half and seed pods scattered on the ground with the wind. On various occasions I have made a mini harvest of some of the small kernels. They aren’t half bad. I wonder what wild rye bread would taste like. I’d better hurry up and start gathering if I plan to give it a try. I’ll be inducted into the Little Red Hen Club.

I saw a dog that I liked – not the first time I’ve seen it. He has a liver-colored face, white body, and large liver-colored spots on his back – probably a german shorthaired pointer of some kind. I liked the dog because it wasn’t barking or licking itself. I also liked it because it stays in someone else’s yard.