Friday, August 26, 2005

describing a dog walk

We head out just on dusk. She pulls forward as I pull her back, my arm muscles straining. She dives for the gutter. "Off the street!" Trotting along, the sound of six feet padding the uneven pavement with our regular steps. Over roots and broken asphalt, the sky dimming and the stars brightening. "Don't eat that! We're not going that way." A sidelong glance then back to the ground. Too many smells, trails to follow. "Come on, that's enough." We turn the corner but one tree is too hard to resist, offering the special scents left by today's visitors. She halts to sniff and I stop. There are no steps. The traffic sounds louder, like the onset of monsoon showers, the cars roar past leaving a calm in their wake. Then the birds go off. I don't know all their names, some Indian minors, a magpie, a flock of lorakeets. We trot on past the primary school; the smell of Eucalypt from a pile of wood chips in the corner of the school yard. Breathe in deep. Look down. "Don't eat that little dog!" A cat turd hangs out one side of her mouth. "Drop it. Come on. Please..." We turn into our street. Her trot has slowed. It's dark and the neighbour's white cat announces our arrival with a snarly meauw. The gate is open and swings wide hitting the bricks. A hard sound. Unforgiving. I rescue the gate as it jumps back. Then it's closed, clink. Into place. We're home.

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