It is a route I have taken hundreds, no thousands, of times. In the early days of puppy ownership, I made the trek twice a day to wear out an exuberant collie-shepherd mix hound whose boundless energy wreaked havoc on our home if I didn't. Then, in 2004, my sister fell very ill with the cancer that eventually took her last spring. Michael was not yet completely disabled with his disease, but, in the event of my presence being required by my sister's side in British Columbia, I knew he would not be capable of the required twice-daily dog walks. It was then that I invested in the underground fencing system that allowed the dogs complete freedom within our acre property, charging around after the many squirrels in our yard and barking joyously at passers-by, eliminating the need for those walks.
But I came to love them. I no longer needed to go for the dogs' sakes, but every morning, before Michael arose from bed, I would slip out for up to an hour and immerse myself in the calm and solitude of the nearby forest, Woof and Calvin at my side. It became my very necessary escape from the mounting caregiving duties - Michael was already on permanent leave from work, no longer able to meet his own workplace duties.
Most mornings I briskly covered the two or more kilometres. During the summer I indulged in a dawn swim in the river, a true escape, all completely alone. It was the time for the introspection and meditation necessary for me to remain stable throughout the day.
The past two years, with Michael needing constant care, I can only embark on my walk when my caregiver is present or, if it's the weekend, a generous friend who has volunteered to drop in and watch sports in silence with Michael if no offspring are home for a visit. That means, most weeks, I average about four walks, maybe five. It is a priority. Every Monday morning, if there are no other duties for me to attend to, my best friend joins me and we solve the world's and our families' problems together, accompanied by the calm of the natural setting she too loves. It provides the backdrop to my connection to God and peace.
So this week, with my heart heavy, it was the one time of the day when I could escape my extreme anxiety and distress. I am not good at expressing my emotions orally; I always resort to the written word. On writing my last entry, I was venting overwhelming frustration, knowing full well that the involved parties would read my diatribe. It ate me up; it caused terrible unrest in the family, perhaps permanent damage, and I have since deleted the post. I apologize to my readers, as I have done to the offended parties, for any discomfort I caused. It is not usually my way.
But thank God for the few moments of peace my walk afforded me.