Nature Walk – Dog and His Painter

Submitted by Teresa Smith.

I drive five minutes down Cattle Point Road to Finlayson trailhead. Collie, Finnighan, excited to go. He wiggles and tries to get in the front seat as we approach. Upon arrival, Finn eagerly bounces out of the truck and the fun begins.

We descend into the woods. The smells are rich and moldery. Cedar fronds pungent. Fir pitch has a luscious fragrance that I want to bottle and take home. A scent of sea air with an incoming tide.

Greens and browns all around, with flecks of blue and red. There is gold and rust, crimson and violet. A canopy of rich darkness, black as raven, then patterns bright as white where the sun touches leaves. I want to remember these patterns of light weaving through like warp and weft.

Ocean spray flowers have gone by and are now kind of a beautiful brown-gray. Soft and dry to the touch. The leaves are green gold. Dark branches and twigs splay out in a rounded form providing beautiful patterns. There are patches of sky behind the tree limbs. Not to see the tree but the parts that are not the tree. Shapes of pale blue next to dark rich green.

I am brought back around by two huge dogs charging towards us. Oh geez, do I drop the leash and run? A man is yelling and calling his dogs. They seem friendly, so I relax a bit, doing my best to stay on my feet. A moment later, the adventure is done, and I say hello to the man. He apologizes, we smile at each other and move on down the trail in opposite directions.

I touch Finn’s rough fur and tell him he is such a good boy. In that moment, he is the most beautiful beast I have ever seen. On down the trail a bit I lay my hand on a fir tree. The bark is rough but for the patches of lichen and moss. I say hello and thank you, in awe of this magnificent living giant. Next tree a way down the path is cedar. Cedar is softer and has a calmer more soothing energy. Cedar tree offers grace.

A distant eagle chortles, finches in the underbrush chirp. I hear gentle waves lapping against the shore. Something rustles in the bush and Finnighan hears it too. Perks up and wants to investigate.

We keep going. Three miles. Three miles of awe, magnificence, adventure, healing and love until Finnighan and I are back at the truck. I drive away and into a different reality and all the things, but with a new sense of the world. I am soothed. Onwards.