Mulling things on my morning ramble
with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
On the drive, our conversation drifted all over and one thing the Bridgeport carpenter mentioned was wanting to come along some morning on a ramble with the meathead.
That is not a casual idea from him. For many of us, he is forever connected with his dog Molly on his nearly daily boat rides/fishing expeditions on the Chicago River.
So it made me think, consider one of the central routines of my life.
Nobody, not even my wife or my kids, has ever accompanied me on my morning ramble. And they stretch back more than a decade.
It would dramatically alter the dynamics of the ramble.
There are three primary reasons for my morning walks, first with the late and much missed Flash. Our family's first dog, a mixed collie, came with my wife. They came together. That was that. Then the last four or five years with Storm.
The first reason is the simply the exercise. When I quite smoking just before the birth of our second boy more than 14 years ago, I added 50 pounds in about three months. Nobody is big enough to add that kind of weight without consequences, let alone somebody 5-8 like me.
So I started walking Flash every morning around our West Rogers Park neighborhood, then down here when we moved. And I was able to knock off about 30 or 35 of those 50 pounds gradually, the right way. I still have about 10-15 to go.
Second, as an offshoot of the morning walks, I found it connected me to what was going on in the natural world each morning, the nuances of the daily weather. And I found that important as my outdoor writing career was kicking in.
Third, and ultimately most important, I found it becoming my time to sort life out, to say my prayers and have my morning chat with God. In a sense, to get a bit grandiose, find my place in the cosmos or make peace with it.
And that became the most important reason for the morning ramble with Storm.
Oh, the exercise and the connection with the natural world matter, but the central reason is in my head.
A companion would not change the first two reasons. It would dramatically alter the third reason for my ramble.
I think it would be fun to add the dynamics of Jeff and Molly to the mix for a change of pace. Molly and Storm would certainly add a different dynamic.
But it would only be for a change of pace.
That alone time is hard to find, no matter what you do in this day and age. It is truly important for me because I find if I have a knot in writing or in life, I sometimes can untangle it while roaming around the town pond and town.
The last time I dramatically altered the dynamics of my morning ramble, other than from Flash to Storm, was starting to write the Ramble with Storm entries here.
Writing that sentence, I start to feel like staring into the whirls of a massive seashell found on some pristine imaginary beach.
My thoughts do ramble, sometimes circling back in on themselves.