Run Like a Dog

I run and ride trails like a dog. This is different from running or cycling doggedly. I walk and coast a lot, I trot, chase some things, stop and listen, and socialize, albeit as a human would socialize—face to face, not nose to butt. I climb trees some days; a dog would if it could. I pee on stuff (but out of need, when I need to, not like a dog's version of a Facebook "check-in").

It's made the 4 miles of trail at the Homewood Izaak Walton preserve a few blocks from my house endless, as nature shifts things around every day, sometimes minute by minute. I work in sprints by spotting birds and other animals to chase. I trot to stay ahead of a trail user behind me, or to (pretend) stalk one ahead (don't even try to tell me you don't do this). I clamber up on logs and piles of stuff to jump off, and balance across fallen limbs. 

But most of the time, I walk, and sometimes I take an actual dog. Always, I plan to take at least three pictures. This 193 acres near my house reveals variation that mesmerizes and surprises, every time, and the value to me of this open space and these trails spirals up and up and up.

Illinois doesn't have enough trail for all of us who live here and need them. For me, using trails less like a cyclist or runner and more like a dog is making the most of what I have.