The Path usually not taken…

The “Path not taken” was the theme for our timed writing exercise at this week’s writing group. I’d arrived just as the group was starting its introductions…a bit late due to my usual predicament…dogs!

My dogs chose the “Path Not Taken” that morning… it was the path that is usually underwater! But we are in low tide season up here in the Pacific Northwest. OLAE, the off leash area in Edmonds, has been experiencing a major expanse of beach exposure. Receding waters in the Puget Sound open up the natural rockery barrier between our dogs’ “allowed” area and the public beach where the wagging tailed visitors are not so welcomed!

“It was not their fault! They were tempted.” This is the stock answer from my Hubby when ever our pups commit some transgression.  But Hubby was not the one jogging in heavy stiff soled Mephisto®foot ware, burdened by the additional weight of wet sand! I had not planned on this level of exercise before sitting in my writing group that morning. I’d planned on contemplating the beauty of the snow kissed peaks of the Olympic Mountains and being calmed by the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. Now my thoughts were derailed by wondering if I’d have time for a quick change into drier attire before I arrived to sit and write.

My pups were, in their defense, truly tempted. A low flying gull that teased them with hope of capture, coupled with their lack of literacy had them flying down the beach in hot pursuit. They raced right by the bright yellow sign that said “No dogs allowed past this point”. This barrier is usually enforced by deep enough water and a high rocky expanse that discourages, or at least slows down most of the canine curiosity about what is on the other side of that point.

As I jogged after my escaped canine charges, I tried not to slip on the still moist rocks, recently exposed and still covered with algae and sea weed. Muttering commands that my mischievous mongrels pretended they’d never heard before, despite the 6 weeks of Puppy Manners class where they’d performed perfectly, I finally caught up with them.  I was aided by the presence of a Beach Ranger who sternly informed me that “Dogs must be leashed in this section of the beach!”  She stated this as I was breathlessly struggling with the clasp on one of my dogs’ collars and had the other one in firm grasp.  Talk about stating the obvious!

Her terse smile did not brighten her words.  “I hope that you are going to go back where you came from.” Her nod toward the other end of the beach indicated a “Path frequently taken”.

I am currently searching for a real time “app” for my Droid phone that posts the tidal charts in Edmonds. I believe I will need to consult this on a daily basis for the next few months or risk time in “Dogie Detention.”

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