Morning walks with one or more of my three dogs has been a morning ritual for six years. Six years ago our first Golden Retriever, Kali, joined our family when we were still living in Livermore; a suburban town with over 90,000 residents. Since then two more Golden Retrievers have joined our pack. Each of them only knowing our new home we call the Golden K in Tuolumne, CA.
In Livermore Kali and I usually walked along a creek trail that ran adjacent to a local golf course near our home. The trail wound in and out of the neighborhood past tightly packed homes that all looked very much the same. We usually walked in the early morning so many residents would pass us by as they started along their daily commute. We loved the creek trail and tolerated the sidewalks and the passing traffic.
What a contrast to our walks now.
Our morning walks around The Golden K are typically down the center of the road that are a mix of asphalt, gravel, and dirt. There are no sidewalks and so few cars that entire road is usually ours for the taking. When a car does come by it always slows down as soon as it sees us. We too do our part by moving to the side of the road as soon as we hear or see car approaching. But here is the thing that strikes me as such a contrast from suburbia.
The driver of every car around The Golden K that passes by slows down, smiles, and waves. That never happened in Livermore. Kali and I were on the sidewalk, the roads are wide, and cars zoomed with drivers “living in the fast lane” rarely noticing us. In a sense we were invisible.
After over four years most of the drivers around The Golden K recognize me and Kali Kloe, and Koda. So we get a lot of waves and smiles and we appreciate it. We appreciate the slower pace of life in the mountains. We appreciate that our neighbors, as spread out as we are, can take a few seconds to slow down and acknowledge eachother.
A smile and wave go a long way towards fueling my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet!