An Autumn Morning Stroll

I love autumn, especially here in Idaho. Cold, with sunshine. Perfect combination, in my book. I often think that's one reason I'm attracted to malamutes: they also love cold and snow (but not rain so much). 

Maia, my amazing girl, doesn't do well if our walks exceed a mile. Her left knee is still bothering her, although she's doing much better than a month ago. So on Sunday morning, October 16th, I left Maia home, and took Meadow and Finn for a walk through our neighborhood. Maia got a shorter walk of her own, later.

Meadow and Finn. View is south across Meadows Valley. Long shadows of early morning sun.

One thing I adore about autumn here: the thin veils of fog that cover the valley floor on sunny mornings. The fog moves about the valley, lifting here, descending there, rearranging itself until finally allowing the sun to burn it away by noon. Trees poke through here but not there; spider webs on plants become laundry lines of jeweled drops of moisture. It's a joy for the senses.

Miss Meadow.
It makes my heart ache to leave Maia behind on these walks. But Meadow needs to get out, exercise, explore. She hesitates at the start, looking at me as if to ask if I haven't forgotten something very important - Maia? But soon she revels in the outing and eagerly keeps pace with me and Finn.

The horses.

Near our turn-around point we pass these horses. The fog has nearly lifted here, and the morning sun is just breaking over the ridges to the east. I know my camera is facing the sun, but I take the photo anyway.The owner of these horses is out of town, and they are clearly eager for attention and diversion.

Near the forest boundary, our turn-around point.

The horses welcome our return.
"Is that a wolf? Doesn't look so scary to me!"

After the dogs romp in the field grass near the forest boundary, we head back. By now, most of the fog had lifted, and the horses are glad to have us pass close by again. They are particularly interested in Meadow, who so resembles a wolf. They neigh and prance in the field as we pass. Meadow ignores them; she has become used to this reaction after our years in Idaho. (Mules in particular tend to have a violent reaction to the girls if we walk past them in a pasture; snorting, hooves pounding, threatening body languge. I've learned to fear mules, on the girls' behalf.) Finn, however, has to be reminded to "Leave it!" A few days earlier I chatted with a neighbor who has horses and an adorable rescued border collie named Dolly. Dolly is on forced rest because she got kicked by one of the horses, dislocating a hip. "But that's better than the last time, when her other hip was broken," the neighbor said. I don't want Finn to ever discover the pain of a kick by a horse, mule, cow, elk or deer. So much better to simply leave it. Still, Finn bounds near the fence, as if to taunt the horses and say, "Yeah, I can out maneuver you!" Such a show off is Finn MacCool.

The house of the guy who owns the horses.

The guy who has the horses is also from Seattle. His house is pretty cool: built into a hillside to take advantage of the earth's natural heat; sod roof; very modern yet unobtrusive. The part you see in the photo above is the only two-story portion; he wanted it to look like a Forest Service lookout, and it does. Of all the houses in our rural development, his most blends into the environment. I applaud him for that. It borders the national forest, has an awesome view of Meadows Valley, and has 11 acres of land for horses, dogs, whatever. Lucky guy. Smart guy.

Happy dogs.


As Meadow, Finn and I descended the hillside with the horses, heading home, we were briefly enveloped in fog once again. What better evocation of autumn than cattails?

Our autumn morning stroll ended as all outings in the neighborhood have since I first moved there in 2005: with a joyous romp up the driveway and back into the house. Maia greets us happily, smelling Meadow first, then Finn, to determine just where we'd been.

Later on, I took a photo of those two horses, from my deck:

The horses, from my house.

I marvel at my good fortune, to have found this slice of paradise, to be able to enjoy it with my dogs, even if only part time. I am lucky, indeed.
Rebecca WallickComment