Wednesday March 3, 2013, 4p.m. When Smokey Joe, our black pug, wants to go for a walk he will either shadow you or stare you down with his globular, black eyes the latter as if sending a telepathic message. On this day when I stand Smokey Joe jumps and follows me to the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, or wherever as he feels this may be the moment to get out into the neighborhood and let friends know he is around. Then, “Smokey Joe, go for a walk?” I ask to which he responds with sparkle and excitement in those bulbous eyes. From upstairs in the computer room I get up, Joe gets up, we walk downstairs with Joe carefully navigating each step, we both head for the door, and then I slip a harness and leash over Joe’s head as he instinctively lifts the left front paw up and into the harness thus completing the process. If left up to Joe he would just head out and do his business, he don’t need no stinking harness. Now for me to get ready is a process that Joe, seemingly, does not understand as he stares out the door window so, putting on my shoes, a cap and jacket to ward off the cold I grab a plastic bag for the inevitable waste then out through the backyard, unlock the gate, and into the park.
The first leg of the walk is what I call THE GAUNTLET, as it is a challenge to get beyond the point from the trees in the foreground of this picture to the pines in the background. Smokey Joe yanks me to an abrupt halt every few feet he smells something by locking his right front paw then pulls hard on the leash dragging me in the direction HE wants to go, either in the grass or to the base of a tree. Clearing THE GAUNTLET and making sure no other dogs are around I take Joe off the leash for some temporary freedom.
Also along on the walk I bring my pocket camera as the partly cloudy sky promises sculptures (I love cloud formations) worth capturing so I look for open, expansive, clearings and find some by a middle school and this being a Sunday no kids around. With Joe still off the leash and following I find some great places to shoot sky and clouds near some trees, along fencing, and open fields trying to get some scale in each shot. Half way through Joe’s pace slows as he is nine years old, I adjust mine to compensate and take advantage of this by snapping pictures of dark clouds contrasting against white clouds and blue sky. My heart races excitedly.
Now on the tail end of the walk, Joe back on his leash and wanting to investigate something, I lean against a tree to support the camera to take sky shots looking into the sun. Joe pulling forward I realize this can be used as a counterbalance to assure a non-blurred picture, I release the shutter, taking a 2nd one for good measure, and then back from whence we came. Opening the gate I remove Joe’s harness but he is not ready to complete the walk and looks back into the park as if on a vacation taking one last, long look before leaving. Gently pushing him through I assure it be there tomorrow when we head back out for your morning walk.
copyright 2013, jim pykonen