As the air slowly warms over the Northern Hemisphere and the days grow longer dogs begin to go on walks with more regularity.
I do walk now. I like to take an invigorating stroll after breakfast. I start out alone. I enjoy the solitude. Inevitably I find a group of friends and soon we are chasing one another, nipping at furiously wagging tails, lying on our backs as my friends sniff my belly and nibble at my legs. The sun shines brightly above us warming our fur and before we know it, we are huddled together asleep: Warm and safe.
I prefer walking to flying. Flying is faster than walking, but I have never been speedy. If I am going uphill, I spread my wings and let the wind lift me but on level ground I am content with traveling by paw.
I discovered that you found yourself missing the oddest things when you arrive at the other side. When I walked with my parents, I resented being connected to them by a leash all the time. I was small, but I was tough and could handle any vermin that crossed my path. And I came when called. I would never run off. Not from Mommy. But still I was always connected to them by that infernal leash.
As I spend more time at the Bridge, I realize I miss the strap. That broad and long fabric connected us like an umbilical cord, like a lifeline from the space station to Major Tom. As I trotted along I could feel an energy coursing down the leash: Love, concern, awareness, companionship. And I would pull on that rope. I thought it was because I was trying to get away but it was because I was checking...always checking. The tension holding me back was love, and I would test that love by pulling harder, but I could not break that tension, or break that love.
It was like seeing comforting hands on your baby carriage, like being held in loving arms. It was the assurance that there was someone there looking after me, always.
Someday my parents will walk me through the Bridge’s fields. I hope the don’t mind, or think it odd when I ask them to bring a leash.