One of my favorite morning routines is a daily walk with canine and human friends. We set out at 8 am on a 30-45 minute walk through fields and meandering paths.
One of our walking members has spent hours clearing through brambles and brush to create secret paths to magical places. The paths run along a creek that provides enormous enjoyment to young and old of all species.
Each section of the walk offers its own special appeal. We strike off across a large meadow, dip between a fence, and scoot down a delightful overgrown path which opens up to Dusty's Beach (I will touch on this more in a moment). After a stop there, we briefly rejoin the meadow, then Dusty's Detour takes us directly along the creek for a ways, sliding on to Dusty's Shortcut. Over a log, down handmade (again our illustrious dog walker) stone steps along Lookout Lane to Pirate Coves, generally another stop. Then through Dusty's Dump, a brief stop at Dusty's Dip (a wonderful horse swimming area) and lastly to Dusty's Overlook. We then head off in our daily directions. Each of the dog walkers looks forward to this routine and we do it year-round through wind, water, snow and sun.
Dusty's Beach, our first "stopping place," is where we share the innermost dog walker secrets. From what is on the menu to "who knew," the ups the downs, laughter and tears. It is a grounding stop.
The Beach changes shape year after year. Rain, snowmelt, washouts and flooding mold the space annually. But the beach "feel" remains the same. Sand, pebbles and rocks line the creek, making it a perfect beach to play on. Chairs, mats and beach towels are found there often. It holds the added charm of a natural source of clay tucked in the bank across the waist-high water. Shells, planted by said author and donated by anyone going to a "real" beach, add to the charm. But not only shells, glancing down at the beach one can clearly see dozens of rocks ... each with a smile.
Why would rocks have smiles? A fabulous question. Let me attempt to explain.
One of my self-motivated missions every day that I can (winter is out) is to collect at least three rocks from the beach and return at least three rocks to the beach. During 24 hrs, I paint a smile face on the rocks. While I do this, I bring someone to mind who could maybe use a smile. The next morning, I place the "Happy Rock" on the beach while shooting out another kind thought to that someone. I love this daily mission. And I take it seriously. Dusty Dog Farm staff laughs and/or roll their eyes as they see "Happy Rocks" lining the barn desk. But I march on with the mission. Whether it "works" or not, it sure leaves me feeling good. Besides, I love to see smiles, even if "only" on a rock.
To finding smiles in wild places!