November 15, 2015
Opening day. Shots ring out at daylight and continue through the day. The next two weeks are not the best time to muck about in the park woods beyond our property.
We decide to hike on the Highbanks Trail from Lumberman’s Monument, along the mighty AuSable River.
We weren’t the only one with this idea, but most of the walk Gus was free to run.
Gun runs back to make sure we’re still coming.
The water was glass, the air still. The sun was too warm for base layers.
Something about this water calms my soul.
Sand dune to the water.
We share an old joke, that we’ve found the Appalachian Trail, a throw-back to our first adventure. Back then, naive as we were, we anticipated that trail to be like this one, with gentle hills, a leaf and pine needle covered walkway with no roots to catch our toes.
A man and his dog. At 71, he paces easily with his walking stick.
Gus barges ahead to scout.
Checking out the trail ahead.
He never lingers out of sight, and covers twice the ground that we do.
My soul finds peace here, among the pines, joy embodied in a dog’s pant.
Gus gallantly leads the way…
Into the sun.
…but pauses to make sure I’m still in sight.
“You still coming?”
Yes, I am.
It reassures me to know that no matter what happens in our busy, human world, the river flows.
A window to the mystical AuSable.
Who cannot be happy here?
On the way back, I take the less-worn path, up along a ridge. Andy takes the lower path.
Gus is torn. He follows me. At first. He races back to find Andy. Seconds later he returns, ever vigilant as to where Andy walks below. At the crest of the dune, Gus sees him. He races down and back.
Gus knows that Andy is near.
Somehow, Gus and I get ahead. “Find Andy,” I say, and Gus turns back.
Andy meets us along the trail.
Lumberman’s Monument honors the hard-working men who came before.
We are glad for our packed lunch after the hike, on this rare and warm November afternoon.
Andy and I.
A good idea.