7 a.m. Leave house. Turn left. Note small child in pink jacket waiting for school bus. Rein in Riley, just in case.
Approach corner. Watch out for the patches of ice, by those two houses that never shovel. (Riley goes around it, through the snow.)
Cross street. Rattling city truck goes past, hauling a metal trailer. Hang onto ballistic Riley and pray the leash doesn't break.
7:15 Down by the lake. Here comes that bicyclist again--the guy in the orange safety vest and the giant white helmet over the baseball cap. Winter, summer, snow, ice, hot sun, he pedals-- hoe-de-doe, hoe-do-doe-- around the lake every morning, and always manages to pass us at the most inopportune time. Like when you're cleaning up poop. Or you have both dogs and one of them has managed to get behind you, torquing your arm.
Twist Riley's leash several times around your hand and drag him well off the path. Try to make him sit. Roll your eyes when, instead of sitting, he barks and lunges.
Ah, in the distance: the park garbage truck approaches. Roaring up, grabbing each plastic trash container, dumping it, setting it down, rolling on. Repeat process of twisting leash, leaving path, rolling eyes.
7:30 a.m., head back up the trail. Note rabbits cowering in the frozen bush. Distract Riley. Try to make him look the other way.
Oh, man, is that Dakota the huskie, his arch-rival? Change direction. Take the long way around.
Cross street. Watch out for jogger. Be thankful Riley chose not to lunge this time.
Pass the school. How is it we always arrive at the exact same moment as the school bus? Hang onto Riley; wait until children are safely in the door.
City bus! Pull Riley back, wonder why he suddenly has started barking at them, too, after six years of ignoring them.
7:45 a.m. Round the bend toward home. Pass yellow house with enormous muscular barking dog in the window. Let Riley bark back. This one's a freebie.
7:50 a.m., back in the house. Vow to get a sane dog next time around.
Tea in The Garden That Love Built
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