What the Doctor Ordered

belt machineBeing in my 50s, I have lived through countless health and fitness–aerobics-jogging -wellness-yoga-zumba (plus about 15 more I haven’t included) crazes, each with its own special fashion accessories and miracle equipment. The oldest such machine I can remember was the butt vibrating belt of the 1960s – the mothers of some in my circle of friends had them. Even as a kid, this piece of equipment made me suspicious. I started monitoring my Suburban neighborhood but found no evidence of any butt shrinking generally going on.

I did dabble in this or that craze over the years. There was some jogging done, I remember, at least until that day a bug flew in my mouth and I realized how much I hated panting and sweating. The one Weight Watchers meeting I attended during my fat phase of high school was enough for me to decide that food intake could never be important enough to justify such detailed and constant monitoring. I discovered that frequent use of the bathroom scale led only to misery. Around the same time, I heard an interview with a doctor who said 30 minutes of physical activity each day, 5 of which have the heart pumping faster, are sufficient. It was what I wanted to hear and so I listened. Sports and diets were officially for other people.

My current daily physical fitness routine was established in June 1989 with the arrival of Dog One and has not changed substantially since. In earlier days, the walks varied a lot in length and the route chosen. In the past five or six years, though, I have always had an older dog with less stamina to walk, so 99 times out of 100, it has just been “around the cornfield”. So here’s the walk I have done roughly . . . 5000 (?) times (- and thanks to Lyart, who joined me today and took some of the pictures):

The walk begins down our drive to the signpost . . .
. . .passing my 50th birthday present along the way. It’s my Life Tree – the Weeping Willow – and it is thriving (- thank goodness!)
Instead of entering the woods, we take a sharp left at the signpost . . .
. . . and follow the tractor trail at the bottom edge of our property. I always admire the American-style screen porch (on the left) – another 50th birthday present.
As the trail curves, mean neighbor lady's house comes into sight. Dog Four takes off toward her compost heap. Dog Four - a bit freaked out - stays near me.
As the trail curves, mean neighbor lady’s house comes into sight. Dog Four takes off toward her compost heap. Dog Three – a bit freaked out – stays near me. MNL has never liked her and the feeling is mutual.
We keep as far right as possible as we pass the house. This is where the 5 minutes of faster heart pumping begins. It ends at the top of the hill. Sometimes Dog Three picks a fight with the horses or cows in the fields along the way. They don’t take her seriously. At the end of the fence . . .
. . . comes the first sign I ignore. (It says “Please keep your dog on a leash!”)
Having successfully passed MNL’s house, Dog Four rejoins us and it is time for some play.
Nearing the top of the hill now. Today the visibility is good and we can see the most distant line of mountains – the snow-capped ones.
We turn right at the hunter’s perch next to the second sign I ignore . . .
It says “Private Property – No Trespassing!” The dogs usually zip in there quick anyway to steal a corncob from the deer feeder. But not today.
This is the spot where my American visitors tend to bring up “The Sound of Music.” Some of them even hum “The Hills are Alive” and begin to twirl.
Dog Three starts to get tired and wonders why the little turd doesn’t have to wear a leash.
At the end of the field we turn right again and join one of the official hiking trails of the region – the Fiver Trail. Since 5 is the equivalent of an American grade of “F”, that makes this the “Path to Failure”.
Along this bit, Dog Three tries to pick a fight with the Highland cattle (when they are there.) They don’t take her seriously. All four of my dogs learned the Lesson of the Electric Fence on this leg.
Shortly before returning to Mean Neighbor Lady’s House, Dog Four goes on the leash and starts running in circles around us. My turn to twirl.
We retrace our steps back home, where Mr. Bird welcomes us back.

23 thoughts on “What the Doctor Ordered

  1. I love the one with you and older dog and the fence at the right. It was so great seeing you again. Arrived home safely last night, but rather heartbroken, after having to leave my dad behind…


    1. Dog One -aka “First Dog” – and Two have both departed. First Dog was the one who died 2 days before we went to get Mitzi in Ethiopia. The two pictured here are Three and Four. But you are right – they do look a lot alike because I am drawn to black pets for some reason . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post! My dogs love ignoring leash signs, pestering cows and examining other poop on our daily walk. I have my own special willow tree we pass along the way. What country do you live in? I’m going to guess Austria because I almost did jump up and start singing “The hills are alive…”

    Liked by 1 person

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