Buster and Belle's morning walk was actually enjoyable for all of us -- there was no wind! As there have been 40+ mph winds the last few days (or has it been weeks!!??), this morning's walk was a treat indeed. Buster seems to be doing really well on the pain medication for his leg. We aren't going for long walks just yet, but the pep is back in his step. Yeah!
After the pups walk, I met Jel Bel in town for breakfast. It was great to see her. She looks fantastic, truly. She has sooo much going on in her life right now but she seems to be handling it all with grace.
After Jel Bel and I said bye, I went and spent about two and a half hours conducting "field observation" at the Greenbelt. So many people were out enjoying the greenbelt - the severe cold and wind that have marked the past three months have left everyone with cabin fever, I suppose. Oh - and the tall grasses that grow near the greenbelt are still bent over - even without the wind. Those poor little guys grow that way because it is always windy. I hate the wind (unless I can get my hands on a windmill...)!
It appeared everyone came to the greenbelt by themselves or with others that defined them as a group. I didn't see anyone linger to chat with anyone other than when I chatted with a young woman with a sweet, sweet pup she'd adopted two months ago; the proud parents swapped dog stories. She's moving to Ohio in two weeks; I found myself disappointed. I was also stopped by a woman and a child who wondered if I'd seen their black lab anywhere. I took her name and number in case I saw Daisy later I could ring her and let her know. Other than that, everyone kept walking, moving, no stopping. I wonder how much the clearly defined, paved and groomed road encourages greenbelters to just keep moving? I expect the joggers and bikers to keep going; their intent on usage of the space appears to be for exercise, not dilly dallying or strolling. But I thought other people would meander a bit more than they did. Nope. A few people would stop to look at the river that has just begun to thaw every now and then. That was as much dilly dallying as I saw. However, everyone greeted me without exception. Of course, I made sure to make eye contact, but my gaze was always met by a friendly face. It was so pleasant to be outside and to see so many friendly faces. I am sure the break in the yucky weather encouraged this; a few people mentioned how nice it was to have pleasant weather as they passed by.
Nearly everyone had a dog or two with them. Of course, I was tickled. I noticed the dogs encouraged greetings among people almost immediately. Fuzzy little ice-breakers. All but one dog had sweet temperaments. One dog, toward the end of my day, was barking at everyone, had to be on a leash and was aggressive toward other dogs. I am glad the owner had this dog on a leash and that there weren't any canine confrontations. Personally, I don't think he should have brought his dog. Maybe he is working on socializing the dog and I suppose this is a good place to do it. I should have taken Buster and Belle but I wouldn't have gotten much "work" done. I also noticed, based on the evidence of dried, muddy footprints on the greenbelt, that it appears dogs freely roam on and off the paved greenbelt but that the humans stay on the pavement. I didn't even see any little kiddie footprints. We need to loosen up a bit!
This idea of boundaries and "rules" has me interested; I'll have to explore this line of thought as I go over my notes. Boundaries were everywhere; at the edge of the groomed greenbelt and the wild and unruly grass growing around it; chain-link fences keeping greenbelters off of the cement plant's property; solid fences keeping the saw mill out of sight (sort of); posted yield and stop signs, as well as signs prohibiting motor vehicles and asking bicyclists and rollerbladers to warn folks as they came up on them. It is a public space, yes, but not one that encourages spontaneity. Does this lead to boundaries on sociability, too?
Tomorrow, over my lunch hour, I am meeting with the head of the City Parks and Rec to get some more information about the greenbelt. Hopefully I'll be able to wrap up that chapter (number three) by the end of the week. I am trying to wrap up chapter two by tomorrow night. Whew!
Well, this is longer than I planned to write. Gotta scoot; I am making paneer cheese again (this time with whole milk and yogurt - wahoo for fat!) for a dish later in the week and then I need to buckle down and type away for a few hours yet. The dogs could use another walk, too, though I am about walked out today.