We often go walking along the Jordan River trail. The trail is a favorite area for David to go when he is in a wandering mood, when he wants peace to think, and where our dogs like to run.
Last Sunday was sunny and warm, so we decided to take the dogs for a walk. Sunny, our 4-year-old poodle, and Riley, our 2-year-old German short-hair lab, sense a treat coming, and hold semi-still when David puts their leash on them.
David with Riley and Sunny at the golf course
The trail is not far from our home, but to get to it we have to walk along the fenceline of the community golf course. We take care to stay clear of the golfers who are also out enjoying the early spring weather. When we reach the trail, David lets the dogs run free. Sunny stays right by his side, but Riley races off to the river, jumps in, and chases his beloved ducks. The river is slow moving and muddy, but it's home to a large population of ducks, geese, beaver, and some trash fish. Riley also likes to sniff out and chase raccoons and squirrels (and, unfortunately on occasion, skunks) who live along the river bank.
The Jordan RiverWe enjoy watching Riley's antics, and David tells me about his adventures with the dogs on his previous trips. We walk together, sometimes talking quietly about little things, sometimes quiet with our own thoughts. One of the things I enjoy most about David are the comfortable silences between us.
Riley in the waterThe first part of the trail is improved with asphalt and a new fence designed to keep golf balls off the trail. Then we get to the unimproved section. It gives us the feeling that we're out away from civilization, even though we are still close to the city. If we look east, we can see the city, but looking west, there is open land. It feels peaceful.
View of the city, looking southwestWe walk past a well-kept animal rescue sanctuary and David tells me about watching puppies play there. Sometimes he stops and chats with the workers, and they comment on how well behaved our dogs are. He tells me about other people he has met along the trail, including fishermen who sometimes offer him a drink and who visit with him.
We come to an abandoned junk yard filled with old broken bottles, a rusted-out washtub and old tires; I pick up a few old bottles to take home. He tells me about other times he has been there, and as he talks, I get a glimpse into his world when he goes wandering.
When we come to a rickety old bridge, he tells me about the time he tried to cross it when he was in one of his catatonic states. He shakes his head and says, "Sometimes it scares me to realize the danger I've been in, and I realize the Lord is watching over and protecting me." We are quiet for a few minutes, thinking about our blessings. He says he has found a secluded spot along the river that is his sanctuary when he's in one of his moods. He won't show it to me because he goes there when he doesn't want to be found. Maybe he will another day.
View from the end of the trailWe eventually come to the end of the trail where it meets up with another, newly-created path near a freeway. "Want to know how I get across the freeway?" he asks me. I shake my head, there are some things that I would really rather not think about.
Finding a grassy area, we lie down for a few minutes and watch the clouds go by. I reflect upon the stories David has told me, and I appreciate his trust in sharing his feelings and experiences with me. I know how important this river is to him, and I feel privileged that he let me see it through his eyes. It also makes me feel better to see where he goes when he's out walking.
We slowly make our way home, a little tired and footsore, but content.