Thursday, September 1, 2016

Walking with Charley and My Ears

 Did you ever take a walk focusing on only one of your five senses? Sure, you look where you're going even if you turn off the sense of sight, but you don't notice the colors of the trees or the shirts worn by passersby. And, if you turn off smell you won't be aware of the aromatic scent of the woods or of freshly cut grass. A few days ago I went on such a walk. Planning on three miles for my own workout and Charley's, my grand-dog who I was taking care of, we set off for the park where we'd walk along a macadam path cut through the woods. I gave sight, smell, touch and taste a vacation and kicked up hearing.

Charley and I crossed the wooden bridge over the Saddle River to a loud chorus of cicadas. Their pulsing sound permeated the air, sizzling like potatoes thrown into a pot of hot oil.  He stopped to do his business - always does the moment we enter the park - and I heard the hum of bicycle tires against the black tarred pavement. Thankfully, he was off-road, squatting on the dirt so only I had to move aside. We continued meandering along the path stopping every few feet for Charley to sniff EVERYTHING. If only dogs could write, he'd have his own blog post on using the sense of smell.

A little further on, happy giggles and squeals of children in the playground erased the cicadas' song. We took the curve to the left heading towards the pond. Charley wandered onto the grass alongside the path. Dried out leaves fallen too early, during summer rather than autumn, crunched under his paws. The serenity of the woods evaporated with the banging and clanging of heavy machinery on
some construction site hidden by the dense tree line and, to top it off, the grating sound of roller blades pierced the air as a kid flew by on those skates. We stopped at the waterfall listening to the rush of the river as it tumbled down over the rocks and I held tight to Charley's leash.

Approaching the pond, it sounded as if a huge summer rainstorm had hit. But it was only the fountain spilling into the water. Circling the area I heard the shriek of metal chains attached to swings as little kids pumped higher and higher and then Thwack! A branch must have fallen from a tree. The clomp of Nikes hitting the pavement as young men and women jogged by met the squishing sound of my tennis-socked feet in my cross trainers as I stepped quickly halfway through the three miles.


Charley was panting heavily, his tongue hanging out, his way of sweating and I wiped my brow. But he was a trooper. At eleven years old, he still loved walking in the park and everyone commented, "What a cute puppy."  He still looked like a little boy so cute with his big brown eyes. Oh, but that's the sense of sight. Sorry.

We headed back to the parking lot to the music of the river gurgling downstream. All was peaceful. Then, Smack! The loud, growling motor of a lawnmower.

Not even that reverberating noise could ruin our walk. We got back home, a little tired, a little sweaty, but feeling strong. I had a tall glass of water and Charley licked the liquid from his bowl. The crinkling sound of me opening the package of chewy meaty treats was music to his ears.


  1. Delightfully noisy. I particularly enjoyed the narrowing; the way the focus allowed me to hear what you might not have otherwise noticed.

  2. It's amazing isn't it when you heighten on of the senses and take the world on? So glad you tried it. Too cool.