Here Comes a Regular
These days, it's the dog run. I get home from work and feed the cats and change into a t-shirt and sweats, and then I get Dorrie all worked up: "You want to go to the park? You want to go to the PARK?" She is very clear in turn that yes, she does, and off we go through the convivial afterwork urban-suburban streets, saying hi to the neighbors as we pass, to our local: The Fort Independence Park dog run.
It's a nice spot, rolling and leafy, and a good group of people and dogs. We're the hardcores, the ones who were there every night all winter, when it was dark before I even left the house and the wind blew in bitingly off the reservoir. These days it's lush and cool after the heat of the afternoon ends, and we all lounge around on the benches and fall into the rhythms of talking about nothing in particular as the evenings stretch out. Like a bar with no alcohol, like a playground with no children -- there are children in and out all the time, but not ours, which makes all the difference -- and our dogs all know each other and can, for the most part, be trusted.
It's a pleasant part of the day, with work over and dinner not quite a worry yet; a pleasure but also, because of the dogs' needs, a necessity. We stay longer than we need to most of the time, but the concept of exactly how long that might be is up for debate. The dogs play, we talk, and it's all very agreeable and good for the soul. And at the end of the evening the dogs are tired, which was kind of our point all along.