photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

A little Sunday morning walk to the Presa clears your head, raises your spirits, and revives your senses

Fields of mustard seed brighten the walk to the Presa along Camino a San Miguel Viejo.

Sometimes you just have to get out there and walk. Anywhere will do. Just walk.

Most mornings, that’s me walking Moppit, struggling for control over the master/pet dynamic with a willful and intelligent opponent.

I want to go left, she wants to go right. We both freeze in our tracks and engage in a game of blink, staring into each other’s eyes with fiercely competitive stares. It is Moppit who decides when she’s had enough of this walking nonsense and communicates her desire by sitting firmly on her tush. It is Moppit who sets the pace, decides what needs to be sniffed or peed upon. For my every step forward, she executes a complex zigzag pattern worthy of her genetic heritage.

She is a sniffer, a searcher, a chaser, a marker of vast territory.

The grazing foal took an interest in Moppit, much to her distress — biggest dog she’d ever seen. Moments later, the foal tried poaching some green sprouts from under the mom’s nose. She whacked the foal on the head with her jaw and the youngster quickly retreated to less-painful pastures.

In other words, Moppit enjoys a vast and open relationship with the world around her, down there at doggy-eye level, in which every step is less a progression than an act of intense discovery.

A walk with Moppit can take quite some time. It is no stroll in the park.

Well, yes, it is a stroll in the park, only with loads of unleashed sidetracking.

The dynamic seems to change when we set our sights on a clear goal. Take Sunday for example. When Rose and I decided to walk out to the Presa, one of our first-ever San Miguel de Allende hikes three years ago, Moppit fell right in line with our pace and general direction.

The Presa water level has a ways to go, but it is getting there.

Maybe it is the security in knowing that both Rose and I are on the hike. Moppit falls in between us and periodically stops to make sure we are all walking together, as a unit. On the return trip, for example, I started to lag, as is my way on return trips, and Moppit politely stopped walking until I’d mostly caught up. (When I get close enough, she lets out a short, sharp grunt that I interpret as “Keep up, slug!”)

On this walk, I was the one doing most of the zigzagging and detouring.

Needless to say, the recent rains have turned the walk on Camino a San Miguel Viejo into a wonderland of greenery and flowers. It is hard to keep a steady pace when one of us is off sniffing petals and snapping pictures. Actually, that is walking the horse trail that runs parallel to the camino for much of the walk. Besides coming face-to-face with actual horses, you miss all the morning road traffic that includes ATV’s and horse trailers bound for the Otomi equestrian park.

At the Otomi horse park, there was a Sunday morning dressage under way. We could have spent hours sitting up by the shaded beverage cart watching the prance and dance of slender young things on meticulously groomed horses, the result no doubt of hours of practice. Quite a sideshow on the way to the main event.

A particular delight on Sunday morning, was seeing actual water in the reservoir. Last time out here, water was a distant spec on the horizon, replaced by verdant fields and grazing cattle. It is inching back toward the mouth of the Laja River with every torrential downpour. Meanwhile flocks and flocks of grazing birds are still enjoying the nutrition-abundant shallows.

Being probably the flattest walk you’ll ever take in San Miguel, the hike to the Presa was the perfect start to our “Get Out More” campaign — which at the moment means get out of town and into the Campo more, not get out into shops and restaurants and other places where mask-free tourists are hocking up Delta variants into each other’s faces. (Sorry ugly and privileged Americans, you know who you are.)

Well, the plan is to keep on walking because come early September we have a date with friends in San Francisco to walk across the city on a newly opened urban trail, for Rose’s birthday. Being healthy enough to walk that trail with friends is the best gift anyone could ever want.

Bigger-than-life mariachi sculptures tell you that you’ve left reality behind for a better place, if only for a couple of hours.

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