When our dog, Liam, was young, Clif and I would take him for several walks during the day, and all told we would cover about seven miles. Even then, that wasn’t really enough exercise for our lively Sheltie. Fortunately, we have a half-acre yard fenced in, and he could run like crazy around the perimeter, making a track that a friend dubbed “the Liam 500.” Oh, Liam was an energetic dog. And he stayed energetic for many, many years, wowing friends with his wild racing in the backyard.
Blindness, however, has slowed down this once active dog who loved to be outside from dawn to dusk. Nowadays, Liam only wants to stay out long enough to do his business. As for racing around the backyard—those days are over, and the Liam 500 is no more, completely filled with grass.
We still take Liam for walks several times a day, but we are lucky if we go for a mile, total. Nonetheless, the walks are enjoyable. Liam sniffs, I look, and even on a short stretch there is always something to see on our country road.
Now that it is fall, the air has a nutty smell as the leaves and the acorns fall. Crickets jump by the side of the road, and chipmunks scurry to fill their pantries. Even on a gray day, the woods are bright with yellow ferns, and in mid-October in central Maine, the leaves are a blaze of orange and red.
On our walks, I spot those little stars of autumn twinkling in the tall grass.
In the woods, I notice a fallen log with lichen.
I admire the variegated mat of leaves on the side of the road.
Then it’s back to our very own yard.
These short walks are a good reminder that no matter how close you are to home, there is something to see, something to notice.