Friday, November 28, 2008

Trauma On River Drive

I'd been planning a post for several days. The morning walks around the lake are so pleasant, I really wanted to share them with you. I'd even chosen the title of what was to be today's post: "Walk With Me" - intent on utilizing it with a spiritual bend towards taking note of ones' walk with the Lord.

I wanted to take pictures of this genre, to note the minuscule beauty of simple items around us:

as well as landscape photos of grandeur for the path ahead:

and how about some browsing the various and sundry beauty or state of dilapidatedness of the homes that call this particular expanse of acreage their foundation:

Well, not unlike any other endeavor I undertake it seems, the simple turned into the extraordinary. And today, drama turned into trauma.

Let me explain.

The morning routine had gone exceptionally smooth. In a state of readiness, Dell, Keller and I set out. The day was slightly overcast, but very comfortable with a gentle cool breeze bringing in a distant rainstorm.

Trotting happily beside me, Dell indicated he would like to be let off leash - a treat I'd been granting him as of late because no other pedestrians are out and about while we are. Folks are at work, and most other neighborhood dogs are contained in their various and sundry fencelines. This treat has been an excellent training time, as I've reduced the DellDog's response time to "come!" to an immediate recall.

Under normal circumstances, that is.

You see, the day before Thanksgiving, the DellDog was dutifully obeying me, when, suddenly, from out of nowhere, a man on a bicycle whipped past us at lightening speed. So stealth, so speedy was his approach, that the man startled all of us, including the dog, who deftly jumped into 'protect' mode, and nipped at the man's pedals. Snagging the edge of his jogging pants, I could hear the man muttering as he sped away. I yelled out an apology, and retrieved Dell.

A solid twenty minutes later, I had resumed my off-leash training, when a pair of dogs, separated from the fence that contained them, menaced Dell in a "Hey,-I'm-bigger-than-you-but-I'd-like-to-get-to-know-you." kind of way.

It was at that very moment that the Bicycle Man reappeared. "HEY! You got a leash for that dog?"

"Yep." I hollered out, and entering the canine growls and snarls; the raised hair on backs, I clipped Dell's leash securely. I then address Bicycle Man. "Sorry about my dog's nip. I"ll replace your joggers. Dell was startled, as we all were . . ." my voice trailed off as Bicycle Man began berating me excessively.

Stunned, I simply let him speak on and on, then bid him good day. I knew it was useless to get a word in edgewise.

Fast forward to today.

It was about here, at this lovely, relatively new home about the lake

that I determined we had the 'all clear' in terms of others being out and about - especially Mr. Bicycle Man. I'd purposely taken my walk later in the morning, purposely scanned my surroundings before unclipping my dog.

Dell, Keller and I turned happily to the road ahead.

Once again, suddenly, without warning, and very purposefully, the man on the bike was at my side, moving fast as blue blazes. I saw the flash of his arm raise to the full height of a man standing, and, wielding a large stick, bring it down upon my dog, unprovoked. So extreme was the event that I stood speechless, while Dell sought to regain his bearings. I could feel hot fumes begin rising from within me, but I would not give them place.

Counseling myself, we continued.

We visited the Great Dane that delights me so, then rounded the curve that opens to the lowest part of the lake. A neighbor was out with his little dog and two children. Exchanging greetings, an abrupt interruption occurred:

Bicycle Man had sped around the lake in nothing flat. Less than three minutes had passed since his previous attack, and here he was again, smacking my dog on purpose, unprovoked.

The neighbor watching exclaimed, "Did he just hit your dog??" incredulous as I was. "He'd better not hit mine!"

We all turned our attention to the man who was pedaling off furiously. "A conversation would be nice, sir!" I yelled after him, in a loud voice.

Dell didn't know what to make of any of this. He lingered as long as he could with the neighbor before finally agreeing to follow after me. "Matter of fact," he seemed to say, "I need to cool down myself." Plunging into the hazy lazy water, he splashed around to restore his soul.

It seemed to do the trick for him ~ but I was now rehearsing my conversation with the biker. I didn't know if he'd attempt to come back around, but something told me he would . . .

A few paces later, I was in the process of calling Dell to me to click his leash back on when, sure enough, not more than five minutes since his last go 'round - the man who took twenty minutes to encircle the lake the other day - had now accomplished three laps in less than 10 minutes. I watched Dell catch sight of him before returning to me - and bolt away like a flash of lightening.

"DELL!" I called, with useless effect. Turning, I moved to the center of the road and positioned myself front and center, policeman style, arms crossed and waiting.

When Bicycle Man was in speaking range, he sought to go around me. I wouldn't let him. "Can we have a conversation, please?"

He pulled up short, his defenses bristling before I could even begin.

Our words ranged from polite and calm to terse and pointed, hashing out the residential and recreational rights we both maintained. I oft felt as though he sought to intimidate me; I'm certain he was not expecting me to hold my ground.

In the end, he pedaled off, agreeing to our compromised resolution. Yet I felt as though my encounters with him were far from over ~ and my instincts told me that he had originally seen me unleash my dog, and left his abode at that moment, intent to teach me, and the dog 'a lesson.'

It was now my duty and desire to find my dog. Rain began to pelt my face.

Yet I tell you Choosers, the morning was far from over . . .

. . . to be continued.


mideastmom said... Mess with my kids or my pets, and you're going to receive the full brunt of my ire. Not that I have any pets right now, but if I did...

Linda said...

I wonder how he would have felt had you been carrying a big stick for when he came around again! Grr!

I am so sorry!

Dawn Sodini said...

You handled yourself so well! I have trouble maintaining my cool in those situations.

Sharon (sk) said...

My mouth is just hanging open... wow... just WOW! How awful! You handled yourself so well. I would have lost it after the first hit. I hate confrontation... not sure what I would have done, but I am sure my mind would not have won out over my emotions at that point. LOL

Sarah said...

Yowsers, Ang! Please tell me there is a good ending!

JanuaryLove said...

I am so impressed with your composure. I don't know that I would have handled the situation nearly as well as you did. Kudos. Now I can only hope he'll leave you alone. :(

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