Fall Pleasures in France

November 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

I am just back from a few days in the French countryside. There, I was able to “borrow” the beautiful Golden Retriever that belonged to the family I was staying with, for my morning jogs. What a pleasure. Growing up we always had cats, but only had one dog. I took her for countless walks, but I was a teenager and not quite able to appreciate the joys of the task. But now I realize and definitely appreciate how wonderful it is to have an exercise companion.

First of all, no one will ever be as excited as a dog to go on a walk or jog or run or hike or bike ride. And that enthusiasm is contagious. My first morning I made the HUGE mistake of grabbing the dog’s leash before putting my shoes on. I then spent the next many minutes trying not to be knocked over by this huge, hyper, insanely excited dog who was ready to go on his walk NOW. Lesson learned.

Second, jogging with a dog who is in fact not leashed especially (the leash was a precaution only), means starting and stopping. No leash means no gentle yank when the sniffing becomes particularly extended. But I found these unexpected breaks to be even more inspiring because instead of getting frustrated or impatient or whatever, I took the time to do jumping jacks, or push ups, or squats, or sprints, or whatever. Any fitness advice encourages that type of change-up of activity and of heart rate during a workout so the benefits were double.

Third, it is a whole new language challenge to attempt to have a dog obey you when not only is your voice not that of his owner, but your accent and pronunciation are probably totally off as well. I was lucky though, and this guy is (mostly) incredibly obedient.

Fourth, and this has nothing to do with the dog but with the simple pleasure of experiencing the shift to fall in the countryside. So many colors, cool brisk mornings, slightly subdued afternoon sun, leaf-covered soft almost muddy paths, the smell of fires burning, plants growing, mushrooms and ferns sprouting everywhere, picking apples off the tree, eating squashes and cabbages and potatoes from the garden, and did I mention the colors?

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