Recently Harold and I had the whole day to ourselves. It was the first crisp, cool day of late summer, so we ventured out on a long walk around our neighborhood. In the sky, geese flew in numbers and leaves fell quietly one by one.
First stop: Vint for a latte. Dogs aren't allowed inside, so we walked through the drive-thru like Beavis and Butthead. On the patio, a first date discussed chakra alignment, a man smoked a comically long pipe while typing on his laptop, and a group of smiley moms cooed and awed at Harold.
The railroad runs along the main thoroughfare of my neighborhood. The shops, bars, firehouse and library huddle on one side of the street while the other side whooshes past in a rhythm of jangling steel. From Clifton to Crescent Hill, the tracks are lined with towering oak trees and rose bushes. Our home is nestled behind the tree line on the railroad side. Trains rattle by always and never. The railroad is like a pulse or a heartbeat - a circadian comfort you're not conscious of unless it has stalled or skipped a beat.
Harold remembered where all of our friends live. He lead me down the sidewalk, turning into every driveway and alley he'd ever visited. We're not going to Jason's, I said. Brandy has moved, I reminded him. Without the memories of past adventures to guide him, he was content to focus on his own priorities, namely stalking squirrels, peeing on poles and sneaking mouthfuls of curb-side garbage.
I know a fireman who sits on the bench outside the firehouse 9, stacking a ziggurat of Milkbones and waiting for his canine friends to walk by and greet him. Harold was shy at first, but on the return trip home he scrambled over for seconds with his tail wagging.
Nearing home, we spotted a flock of geese 12. Harold pined for them, and when I tugged him away, he sulked off with a whimper.
Photo Captions (from top left)
1., 2. Vint Coffee 3. Rose bushes line the railroad tracks. Just Creations 4. Blue Dog Bakery bakes the best loaves in town. 5. Twins? 6. I play a game where I walk on the tracks without stepping on the rocks. Harold plays too! 7., 8. Highlands Latin School 9. Engine 4 Firehouse 10. St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Frankfort Ave. 11. Wild chicory grows along the train tracks. 12. Geese nest at the Louisville Water Company.