Gunner gives me a Lesson

Finally, May 2nd and we have 67* weather.  I get home, throw on my old shoes and take Gunner for a walk.  I don’t have any specific plan in mind other than I love going for walks with him.  For those who don’t know, this is Gunner:


As you can probably tell, Gunner is a character and I’m not totally convinced that he knows he’s dog instead of a human. Anyway, back to the walk.

I’m on the walk, and it’s on a off-road so the pups can run around and enjoy themselves while I get to enjoy nature as well. (When I say pups, we also have 2 other dogs in the “family” Autumn and Harley).  I love being outdoors- I hunt, fish, run, play sports, but all of a sudden I noticed something.


The ground gets sandy and deep, uneven, tough to walk and I notice that my view suddenly becomes that of the top of my feet.  While this gets me through the tough part of the walk, I can’t see the pups or where they are.  Walking this way has slowed me down, and I realize I don’t hear their collars jingle nearby.  I panic like any other parent and find them.  I make an effort to not watch my feet but keep my focus on the road, the end goal.  My view becomes this:


As you can see, I’m way behind Gunner and Harley, but I know where they are, where I am and where I’m going.  Walking was faster, I found I could still make sure of my footing most of the time, as long as I visualized what was coming up and remembered that when it came near.  I walked this way a while until I noticed Gunner and the pups running back and forth, zig-zagging their way around the area.  It reminded me why I was here, not to quickly walk through the woods for some end goal, but to relax, have fun, take in the sights, perhaps see some other wildlife.  I quit focusing so much on the road and a great thing happened, I saw the outdoors.


This stretch of our walk took us along the pipeline, opening things up a bit an allowing me to see farther.  I even stopped, circled around and took in the view.  That turned out to be a good thing, since I saw this guy:


I love watching animals in the wild, and I have always loved watching birds in flight.  I can’t tell you how many times I have imagined I was there alongside them, riding the air currents, enjoying the ride and appreciating the view from above. I never would have noticed Mr. Bald Eagle if I hadn’t slowed down, looked around and took my time.  After watching him for a while, the puppies were worried about me and the next thing I knew we were all together again:


I gave them some love, and we started off again.  A little slower for me, and looking around appreciating the beauty of nature.  Once again I was left behind by Gunner, but Harley and Autumn were sometimes with me, sometimes behind, but we were all enjoying the great afternoon.

We were in the walk a ways, and got down into a swampy area in the path.  I had to take things slow and I also had to worry about an obstacle in the trail- a mud-hole.  The funny thing about mud-holes however, they are an obstacle for you but a refreshing distraction for the pups.  By the time I got close, this is what I saw:


I was taking time to plan how I was going to cross, what would be the best path- yet Gunner and Autumn charged straight through the puddle, and even took refreshment from the water within (No, I didn’t drink from a mud-hole.  I may be outdoorsy, but not that much!) It was during this time that things started connecting to me about this walk, my recent trip to NCTM at DC, and teaching.  But that will all come later, back to the walk as things kept filling my brain.

As I was walking, I started noticing things about the walk, how I moved, how the puppies moved, how we moved together.  There were times I was leading, and times that the puppies went off on their own, and others where they went together to investigate a particularly good-smelling track.


By the end of our walk, we were all tired- it had been a great afternoon!  We piled in the truck and enjoyed a much needed ride back to the house:


The odd thing I noticed, is that even after that long walk there were different attitudes and energy levels in the pups. Autumn just wanted to lay down and sleep.  Harley was tired, but she was still interested in what was going on and was looking at where we were going.  Gunner didn’t seem phased by the walk and wanted me to roll the window down the whole way- I almost thought he’d jump out and start running around some more!

This adventure got me thinking about my teaching, my paths, my student’s paths, and our adventure together.  I don’t want to spoil all the fun right away but I want you to read and reflect on how this story could connect to you.  Perhaps you can even anticipate what I will tell you in the next blog in a few days, when I talk about how I reflected and made connections.

Thank you Gunner, for showing me the path.

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