It’s hard to tell when Abe feels adventurous and when he just needs a bathroom break. I wore my sandals, and off we went down towards North Avenue. When we crossed the footbridge over the Oak Leaf trail, he paused to stand up, press his front paws against the concrete barrier, and looked down at the walking path below. He looked at me as if to say, “how do we get down there?”
“We have to go around,” I motioned to the end of the bridge, the pathway snaking down onto the walking path.
We set off. Abe zig zagged across pathway, tail wagging, feet sinking in the muddy patches from the recent rain. We passed a woman taking a photograph of a man in front of graffiti under a bridge. It said Love more.
Abe found a path up on our left. We walked up the short slope and found ourselves on the hill leading down to the lake, right near Colectivo. Down the wooden stairs, with me reminding “Slow, slow.” We walked for a bit beside the road, then Abe decided to cross. We waited for a while, the busy streets not quite synching up for a while. Then clear — and “quick quick!” — across.
He sniffed along the wooden bleachers by the tennis courts, keeping a quick pace. Across the field a couple played with a puppy off-leash. We steered toward the sidewalk, waited again to cross Lake Shore Drive, and then – sand! Water! Abe pulled me forward, running down across the sand to the water’s edge. He waded in, bending down to take a drink and then watching the water rush away beneath his feet. We walked to the giant white rocks lining the shore, and Abe darted from rock to rock, looking at the spaces between. There was water between the boulders, making gentle slapping noises with the waves.
We walked to the gated entrance of the pier, and I suggested we try a different route. He finally found quiet water by the slip dock, empty of ships, a mother duck and her ducklings out a few feet in the lake. He waded in, took a drink, and then jumped on the strut.
My feet were hurting — the sandals digging into my toes. “Home?”
We headed through the parking lot of boats, and Abe stopped on a patch of grass to rub his back. We stayed for a moment in the shade, watching a family unload from a mini-van, in between the sounds of the lake and the street. Then we walked back up the hill, towards home.
On the top of the hill Abe found an opening in the woods, a steep path back down the side of the hill. I coaxed him to keep to the sidewalk — there was no way I could have kept my footing on such a path.
At home Abe cooled down by lying on the floor, and I doctored my toes, vowing to always wear tennis shoes from now on when going outside with Abe.