Aki barely stirs when I walk up to her, harness and rain coat in hand. She raises up her head when I call her name then curls up on the bed where she spent the night. I know she can hear me. The sound of heavy rain drops hitting the house’s metal roof isn’t loud enough to block the sound of my voice. I ask her to get up. With some reluctance the little poodle-mix stands, does a downward dog yoga stretch, and lets me dress her.
I’m not looking forward to this walk in the rain. But I know that Aki will be squealing with anticipation when I park the car near the Treadwell Woods trailhead. After she leaps out of the car, I’ll climb out to join her, pull up the hood on my rain parka, and realize that it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.
We will walk into woods full of bird song, including the sweet-as-candy call of the American robin. Thrush and flycatchers, grown tame by the absence of other dog walkers, will ignore us as they go about their business.
Aki will investigate seductive smells. I will look down, not up for things to photograph, find an iron mine car railing emerging from the bell of a spruce tree. I will be surprised by other things that I passed by in the past without recognizing their beauty. It’s an unexpected benefit of having to bend down to the rain.