I decided to walk my dog in the Nature Reserve this morning.. At the entrance, I walk past the backs of a few houses and at one there is always a doberman waiting outside and he braks a greeting. Not a “I-want to-rip- your-leg-off” greeting, but “HI, I haven’t seen you in a while. Have a nice walk.” greeting. With his welcome in mind we walk under the highway and into woodland.
It is a silent day. Without the sounds from the highway there would be no sound at all. The trees are still, standing heavy with leaves, the blackberry bushes hold on to a few half-ripened berries and a few fallen maple leaves coat the path. No robins give alarm calls, no Steller’s jays make coarse remarks, woodpeckers are silent. Listening very hard I can just hear the whispering scold of a chickadee down the slope near the railway track.
Then a dull roar, louder and louder. A freight train comes through, three huge locomotives pulling, I think potash and grain from the prairies down to the US. The roar fills our ears as we turn for home. Then the roar fades as the tain passes. Eventually there is silence again, but now I can hear the rustle of, perhaps, a vole or a douglas squirrel in the undergrowth. A grey squirrel skitters up the trunk of an alder. Another dog walker approaches with a golden retriever and an almost-beagle. We say ‘Hi’ and keep going.
But the walk is a friendlier one now, with a little sound and a few other creatures. We bid the doberman farewell on our way out and today’s walk is over. The sun comes through the clouds and the warmth of a late summer day enfolds us.