The sky glittered brilliant blue, triggering a memory of Rob’s grandmother, now long gone. Rob’s family summered in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. On mornings when the sky looked like this, she’d wake the family, calling, “It’s a mountain day,” signaling that the sky was so blue and the air so clear you just had to go out and climb a mountain to see the views. They’d pack a picnic lunch and head up one of the many incredible local mountain climbs. That mountain climbing served her well–she lived well into her 90’s, quite spry into her last days.
So we did the next best thing and headed to the George LeStrange Preserve, a gem of a park that’s only about 5 miles away from our home.
When they realize we’re at LeStrange, they jump out of the car, hopping around, telling me “Thanks Mom” in their doggie way, then quickly start sniffing.
Sugar walks obediently behind me, staying in my shadow so the sun doesn’t heat her black fur. Chula runs back and forth, trying to sniff every scent she can find. Back and forth across the trail she goes, occasionally pausing to leave her scent on a particularly prominent blade of grass. You tell them, girl!
I watch the dogs for a while, then start to notice all the wildflowers in bloom.
This seemed to be a wild impatiens. I’ve never seen one before, but doesn’t it look beautiful?
Even though it’s early on a Sunday morning, many people are enjoying the park. I pass other dog walkers, joggers and see fishermen out on the placid lake.
Side trails take you into the dark jungle near the Saint Lucie River where there are alligators and big snakes. We take a peek but turn back to the main trail. This is better done on a day without the dogs.
“Are we going to the jungle, Mom? Can we? Huh, can we?”
We turn back and continue on the main trail next to the lake just enjoying being together under the soft warmth of the sun and the crystal clear blue sky.
We finish the walk and clip the dogs into their car seatbelts. I ask them, “So guys, is this Paradise, or what?” Chula gives me the little lick that means, “Yes!” in Chula language.
Later on during the day, we were out and found this: