It was hard to get back up again.
One thing, then another, then too many to note separately began to weigh me down, make me stop moving. Free time became, literally, down time.
I told myself with all the class field trips I was getting enough exercise. I told myself I needed to stay off the bad knee. I told myself I’d make it up next week. I told myself after the rainy season, then I told myself it was too hot to bother.
I’d go out once but wait days to go again. I stupidly got grass spears all over my shoes, an impossible amount of the stickery tips in every crevice and meshed seam, and I used that as an excuse, putting off for several weeks the tedium of picking the stuff out.
It was physical, it was the menopause, the knee, the thyroid, the weight. It was psychological, another wave of post-divorce inertia following in pair after a manic push; it was fucking stress from work, too much of the new software transition, too many meetings, too much unpaid overtime, too much of not enough help. Too much longing to just stop.
It was not one thing and it was everything at once. Whatever it was, I’d stopped getting out and about on foot. Stopped doing the usual reconnaissance with the dogs in the morning and evenings, following the deer trails through the high grass and flowers, poking along the old unpaved ranch roads that thread through this heavily-wooded, half empty subdivision. I’d stopped moving any more than was absolutely necessary, stopped being in my walking body, stopped wanting to know what was happening out there.
So now, I’ve let them talk me back into it. The dogs, I mean. Once is enough to get them jazzed, two times in a row is enough for them to expect it, to eye the front door and sniff the air coming in under it from outside. They have plenty of room to romp and run during the day. But they still love the walk.
The older dog especially. He pulls me along, not obnoxiously, not out of control, just enough to keep me going. The younger dog still gets us all three tangled, still spazzily wraps his legs, not getting yet that he can step out of the tangle when I give him the slack.
The old guy knows the gear, is well-trained and in sync, knows how to avoid wrapping the leash, knows how to help me straighten things out if we snag up. Still and all, he likes to force the leash just a little, he likes the resistance I offer. In truth, so do I, making real the inertia I feel, the urge to pull back against time moving on. I like the drag and I like his steady urging at the end of the leash.
In open pasture, he’s off leash and then he just turns and waits on me, encouraging with the force of his will, with his sturdy soldiering enthusiasm.
He’s a good dog and he likes having a job. He’s got a few of them, patrolling the fence line, keeping the pup in line, and now, again, pulling me back toward life.