Today began with a long walk through the Windsor Great Park – or part of it, anyway; at 20.2 square kilometres the one-time private hunting ground of the Royal family is an enormous piece of land. And the park is as beautiful as it is large, particularly resplendent in its Autumn colours.
The park is a dog walker’s dream (and most likely a dog’s too): no shortage of different routes to keep walks interesting; plenty of other dogs (and their walkers) to meet at all times of the day, yet enough space to never feel crowded; and safe for humans and dogs alike, with very few areas of the park accessible by vehicles, and even then most roads are reserved for the use of authorised persons only.
I love watching my dogs run, play, and explore, endlessly stimulated by various animal scents and sounds, chasing rodents, and each other. In taking in their surroundings in such a deep, multisensory manner my dogs never fail to remind me to stop, look around, and appreciate the wonders of nature. It is amazing how many beautiful views I never stopped long enough to appreciate before having the dogs, always otherwise distracted by where I’m going or what I’m doing. If you don’t make an effort it can be easy easy to forget to occasionally go outside just to be outside, and dog walks force me to do exactly that.
Our walks give me time to think, but I can also lose myself watching the dogs running around, carefree and happy, tails raised and gently wagging, or by grabbing a stick and getting involved myself (and believe me, it’s not just them enjoying our games). They don’t even care about the weather, never mind the countless little things we are all guilty of letting play on our minds and dampen our spirits. My dogs remind me of the importance, and freedom, of living in the moment and putting everything else to one side, even if just for a while.