Every walk and run with my dogs through my neighborhood offers new sights, sounds, people and dogs, and experiences. Mostly I let my dogs point these things out to me, following their gaze or nose, or greeting the people and dogs who want to meet us.
Sometimes, though, I come across something the dogs can't notice. Like the message on these stairs in a park that Finn and I run through many mornings.
The message literally stops me in my tracks.
I immediately think of my father. This is precisely the sort of message he would give me. The rugged stone steps and the words of warmth scrawled upon them bring to mind another message: I'll be your rock and your soft place to fall.
After staring at the steps and smiling broadly for a couple of minutes, I continue on my run, Finn by my side. We come this way often. This is where I see eagles hunting, using the big trees alongside the path to scope out their prey, or squabbling with crows for some roadkill squirrel on the nearby street, as I described in this earlier post.
Running through the park toward home, I wonder who chalked the message on the stairs, and why. A wedding? Young love? Every scenario that comes to mind is a happy one.
With Finn cheerfully running just a few steps ahead of me, matching the pace of my stride, I reflect on how the message itself applies to our dogs loving us, every day, unconditionally - every step of our way on life's journey together.
I run on, smiling and happy, deciding that I will return to the park later with my camera. The image - stone stairs with temporary words expressing an eternal message - is too good to lose to a failing memory.