In Colorado that meant we walked during many snowstorms. I would bundle myself up and then Kilty before braving the elements. Me, slogging through knee high snow as my faithful companion bounded with joy, pulling me along until I would have to stop, laughing and gasping for air. We also walked in rainstorms, although at any sign of lightning we would turn around and head home; and in wind so strong I couldn’t shake the image, and the music, from the Wizard of Oz when the “wicked witch” bikes by Dorothy’s window. Not that we were ever out in actual tornado force winds but there were gusts strong enough to make me turn my back against the onslaught and squeal. Kilty would stand next to me with his head straight into the wind, completely nonplussed. Then there were the summer months, ah, the summer months. Months of getting up ever earlier just to make sure that we got out while there was still shade and the air was still relatively cool and, of course, there were the glorious clear blue days. But it was all good, no matter whether I was stomping snow off my boots, shaking rain off my coat or lingering on the porch for just one more luxuriant moment. I have seen amazing things on the morning walks; a wide variety of flowers that I cannot put names to, golden finches, blue jays, hawks with their young, rabbits, bees, deer, coyotes, snakes and so much more. Our urban natural corridors are teeming with life.
The morning walks helped clear my head, while reinforcing what inspired me to write The Plateau. Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” There was a period of time, after Kilty died, when I stopped walking in the morning. I am fortunate that seven months after Kilty’s death Charley came to live with us. He has taken up the standard; we walk every morning, and I strive to understand.