The weather turned warmer, and suddenly it was 85. We parked in the lot closest to Capitol Drive and set off.
Abe took the first path down to the river he found. The night before there were thunderstorms, and the pathway closest to the river was washed out. At one point a giant swatch of trash lined the edge of the lake — river reeds and plastic, a small decorated vase, odd things that weren’t exactly debris.
To get to the river we climbed down a short, but steep, embankment. I let Abe’s leash go and he took off towards the water. “Abe!” He waded in just enough to cover his feet, then turned around to watch me navigate the muddy terrain.
We pressed on along the muddy path, taking occasional side paths to get closer to the water. We were at one when a dog, off-leash, appeared beside Abe. A white husky with a calm demeanor. Abe wagged his tail, sniffed cautiously. On the main path a woman in running gear waited. “Let’s go Trixie.” Then they were off along the path. Abe darted behind them, but they were already lost around a turn.
At times the path was so muddy I lost my footing. My tennis shoe twisted in the mud and I went down on my knee, letting go of the leash. Abe turned and trotted back to me, licked my face, and waited for me to stand up. He went more slowly after that, pausing to watch for me.
We heard a chainsaw, and came upon two men working to rebuild a stairway. “Can’t go this way, sorry.” And so we pressed on until the next pathway up to the main park area. We had just made it as far as the playground, but we were both exhausted. We sat in the grass underneath a tree. Abe rubbed his back in the grass, and then sat in front of me, watching in the direction we had come from.
We sat surrounded by dandelions, drinking water, a gentle breeze awakening the trees.