Taking Buckley for a walk is a repetitive activity generally preceded by pleas to a dog using reason, like that will be of any value. Usually the walk itself is a tugging from an interminable sniffing spot or a demand that he do his business and let’s move on.
Some days can be different. Like the recent day I stepped out of the door to find a black sky roiling and folding on itself suspended overhead with the imminent threat of a deluge. A deluge probably including life threatening lightening (usually seen before thunder is heard). This is also the dog walk that revealed an airliner skimming the sky below the clouds as if racing to a safe port knowing a bolt of lightning could strike it at any moment.
On this particularly threatening evening the train rumbling through Wilton Manors backing up traffic is clearly audible in the distance. From my vantage point there are 15 horn soundings. I have counted them in the quiet of night to a record 22 blasts beginning in one and fading into another distance.
Also on this evening the street is impossible to cross with a continuous stream of cars turning left at the intersection ahead, each burning headlights against the gathering gloom. The other dogs out walking their masters are also dodging cars to the sound of the train in the distance and the airplane in the sky, each probably hearing thunder not yet audible to the human ear. Slowly we make our way down the block.
I turn to look over my shoulder at a shouted command. The command barker is aboard a skateboard being towed by a pit bull, like a powerboat tows a water skier. The dog drawn skateboard comes abreast at the corner where on a call from the skateboard rider the dog turns a crisp right as the rider attired in billowing sports shorts skates to the outside of his radius, makes a few slalom moves and straightens up to fall in line once again behind the pit. It was difficult to discern who was having a better time. The rider was clearly thrilled, but that pit bull had a smile from ear to ear.
The airliner has passed overhead and disappeared into the gloom; the train has moved on to a faint distant rumble; the pit pulled rider is gone. We turn into a quiet circle and the traffic disappears. The sky though darker and roiling faster has yet to utter a rumble of thunder.
The quiet street is the route home of an old woman loping along on a cane. She pauses then stops completely to speak to a family of 13 ducklings. On our walks since spring, Buckley and I have witnessed these ducklings from days out of the eggs. I am surprised at how many of them have survived the summer. Rounding the third corner on the loop of quiet road a distinct beat becomes audible, music from Zumba being offered at the community center on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
One more corner onto the home stretch. A car rounds the corner behind us slowly turning into a driveway and stops. The door opens letting out the hoot and holler of a child happy to be home, probably happy to be away from a school and out of the car. Buckley stops to twist his head and peer over his shoulder. He has no real affinity to children and likes to know when one is headed his way for a full body petting.
Seeing no threat as the child rushes into a house Buckley turns back and continues his sniffing, heading down the final block before returning to the real world. We make the last turn and mount the sidewalk. A command again turns my head and the pit bull makes a perfect left turn, staying in his lane, pulling along the rider doing slalom turns in his wake.