Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday March 29th 2020
In these strange times it’s brilliant that we still have access to our local parks. Being able to spend time each day in Highbury is beyond price.
At the end of last week, Bev suggests that we meet earlier from now on so that we’re there when the park is virtually empty. We decide on eight.
We agree not to walk walk together in the current situation. We know that Rufus and Nancy will find Isis and me. They do. Each day Bev and I have a loud catching up conversation with several metres between us, while Isis romps and the doodles attempt to supplement their carefully devised diet with earth and roots.
And it doesn’t rain.
It’s years since I was in the habit of arriving at the park early, and, once I’m there, I enjoy it very much.
Now we’re walking on our own, I let Isis decide where she would like to play each day. Once we leave the main path, I release her from her harness, and she leads the way.
One morning she chooses the big bramble patch. We have a magical time. The ground frost lingers, and for an hour and a half I sit close to the earth watching the sharp, hard, little frost shapes in a tuft of grass deliquesce into liquid spheres.
I don’t know how frost enhances the scents, but it certainly appears to do so. Isis is clearly finding smells even more enticing than usual, and zig-zags to and fro, nose twitching, tail wagging with excitement.
Once she’s investigated all the scents, and I am watching the changing forms among the grass blades, she begins a virtuoso performance. There’s no traffic noise, and I can hear her little feet pounding against the hard ground. She runs and runs and runs.
Another day she elects to cavort around on the edge of the beech wood. This is great for me as I can sit on one of the comfortable oak tree logs to watch her.
It’s a perfect perch. I can redirect her quickly if she decides to make a break for the marshy area where she likes to play in the summer and where she would dearly love to paddle right now, up to her thighs in liquid mud.
Today she plays for an hour in her pine avenue, then makes her way over the little waterfall to the big meadow.
It’s weeks since she’s been able to play by the stream, and she pops down into the water for a drink before taking off and racing around in the open spaces.
Today, lazy Human lingered in bed, so that it was lunchtime when we arrived in Highbury, and, of course, the park is much busier than it is the morning. But it’s a large area and it’s still easy to make sure that every one keeps the safe two metre distance away from others.
Some cities have closed their parks.
I hope that we can keep ours open.
*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk