The city can be a jungle. Concrete, cars, cables, noise, dirt — Seattle has it all. On our daily walks, we see it all. People rushing by driving too fast, talking on their cellphones, oblivious to anything around them (including us); loud jets zooming overhead filled with more people going somewhere and oblivious to those of us on the ground; dump trucks hauling stuff away and delivery trucks dropping stuff off; fire engines, ambulances, cop cars; skateboarders, cyclists, and runners. It’s busy around here.
In fact yesterday was a prime example of the busyness of it all (and sometimes the weirdness). We were walking through the park the other day and a man in a red flannel shirt came out of the bushes. “Hello!” he waved to us and we waved back. And then he kept heading through the shrubs, around the tennis court and on through the park — in a bit of a hurry.
Not 30 seconds later, a young man came running by in flip flops.
“Is everything okay?” I asked because the man seemed particularly distressed.
“Did you see a man in a red flannel shirt come by this way?” he panted.
“A hit and run. Where did he go?”
I pointed around the tennis courts and the man took off.
You may think that’s the end of the story, but it turns out that Tyson’s neighbor was the victim of the hit and run and when we dropped Tyson back home (he was staying with us this week), turns out that the guy running in flip flops witnessed the whole thing and chased after the guy…and by the time we saw him, he’d already run about half a mile! And apparently, the flip flop guy had just moved to Seattle from Denver.
None of us know if they caught the man, but luckily the only damage of the hit and run was to the car (guy who was hit) and the car the red flannel man was driving…which turns out to have been stolen.
And our walks around the city.
Yet somehow we seemed to have picked the perfect place to start our dog walking business because amidst all the noise and clamor and city-hub-bub and odd moments, there are these amazing green spaces where we can breathe in something other than car exhaust and city fumes.
I’m thankful for this because I am a nature dog who must have time to run off leash in the woods or spend time in the green of open “wilderness” spaces. (I qualify the word wilderness only because I’m not sure how wild my city green spaces are compared to some of the really wild places I get to adventure when up in the mountains or on the coast.) Daily we walk by Lake Washington or wind through a green space park like Frink or Madrona or Mt Baker. We meander around Judkins Park and traipse through Colman Park spotting hawks and flickers along our way. This week we even went to Lincoln Park where we walked under the big tall trees and posed on driftwood by Puget Sound.
And surprisingly, while walking no where near water (up on Beacon Hill) we heard and saw Gretchen’s favorite bird — a Kingfisher!
I’m not sure how much of this urban wilderness is a product of where we live in the city or because we live in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that there are trees and water and open skies and mountains and birds and yes, on occasion, coyotes!
Sometimes I see other dog walkers — the kind who take dogs to a dog park — and when I see the van pass with 10 dogs in the car, I kind of feel sorry for them. I know I shouldn’t. They are having a blast, I’m sure — hanging with their pack, going to a new scent area where they can run and play with more dogs — but somehow they miss out on the beauty that is right beside them. Sometimes we pass by a dog walking company who has put their dogs in a van and then taken them to a enclosed concrete parking lot to run and play. I suppose it’s fun in one way, but I prefer the long walk with my friends and the occasional off-leash adventure as we head down to the lake for a swim or through a new neighborhood’s green space trail.
But that’s just me. I’m sure other dogs have different preferences and I suppose those preferences come from what you know. What I know is that I’m one lucky pup and not just because I have wonderful dog friends, but because the time we spend together is something other dogs don’t often get to do.
And the green of Seattle makes it all the more enjoyable.
Yes, there is graffiti and awful traffic and stupid drivers (sorry, but it’s true) and as much urban weirdness as there is urban wildness — but still, I’m really glad I live here with my people and my friends. Really…I won’t want to live anywhere else (well, maybe in a place where I didn’t have to walk on concrete all day…just sayin’).
Have a wonderful weekend,