I’m absolutely sure what heaven is like.
Heaven is a sun-filled blue sky autumn afternoon in mid-October.
I had to run a few errands today, short ones, so I took my pup along with me. She always wants to go, and I would take her every time, but sometimes it gets a little warm, or you’re in the store a little longer that you expected, and sometimes people are a little judgmental, so I tend to leave her behind for everyone’s good.
But today I took her along, and she was happy. Ten minutes at the library, ten minutes at the art gallery, ten minutes dropping off some forms. The art gallery though, is right next to a park where we walk occasionally, and when I told her she had to wait in the car, her expression was incredulous.
I promised her that after the last errand, we’d stop at one of her favorite parks to make up for it. After all, we had the time.
On the way back from the last errand, we stopped for a treat at a local fast food drive-thru, and the lady in the window offered her a “doggie cone” – with my permission. My dog practically jumped out the window when she saw what was coming, and she definitely knew it was for her.
We parked in the warm sunshine and enjoyed our treats, then headed to the park.
Iverson Park is the oldest park in town, and even if you didn’t know that, you would feel it. You would sense it in the handful of old stone and wooden bridges, the well-worn paths that meander through the park, and the beautiful old-growth trees on the other side of the river. If you haven’t ever noticed, you need to spend some time beneath their outstretched branches. They are grand old ladies and quite beautiful, and will make you feel very welcome. Perhaps even loved.
You would sense it in the wind, as the park has a nostalgic scent that’s similar to old photo albums. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but it’s unmistakable. As I walk around the beach, I wistfully remember decades ago, jumping off the bridge and into the flowing dark water below, with thousands of other children, shrieking with delight, and doing that over and over for hours on a hot July afternoon.
My dog is sniffing along the stones that border the waterways in the park, looking for a spot to easily access the stream and get a cool drink. Being obsessed with squirrels, she’ll stop at the base of a tree and just stare at it for awhile, completely unmoveable. Not much for me to do then, but wait.
But I don’t mind. It’s a glorious autumn afternoon in October, and all I can think of is how perfect it all is. The comforting warm sunshine on my back, the scent of autumn leaves in the air, the perfect temperature of the day, and the laziness of the afternoon, just soaking it all in.
In fact, I’m absolutely sure that heaven (at least my part of it) is a perpetual glorious afternoon in October. With dogs of course.
Because nothing is complete without dogs.
Published October 17, 2017.