There's tunnel that runs under the road, connecting the football field to the edge of the conservation area - the real park. We walked slowly through the tunnel, treading carefully to avoid the broken glass left by the highschool kids.
At the opposite end of the tunnel there's another goose pond, which connects to a man-made lake. A shaky, arched wooden bridge crosses a narrow area of the pond. When Harry was a puppy he was a little afraid of that bridge and I had to carry him across the first time. Not today though. He trotted right on across. The bridge shook under our feet, so we went slowly, but we weren't afraid. On the other side, the whole of the conservation area awaited.
We set out along the shore of the lake. The geese were there, floating just off shore, arrogantly honking away. We didn't care. Let 'em have the water. Our pack rules the land.
We walked along the shore, Harry stopping every so often to check out yet another pile of goose droppings. I would have thought that one pile of goose poop would smell pretty much the same as the next, but Harry was checking them all, for his records.
As we neared the end of the lake, we entered the really interesting part of the park where a seemingly endless, largely unmarked maze of trails winds through the conservation area.
I have no natural sense of direction, so I let Harry choose our path. Whenever we came to a fork in the road, we used the "Dog's Choice" method of navigation. I let Harry decide which way to go.
Having no sense of direction of my own, I was counting on him to get us home, too. Sensibly, he was marking the trail.
The traffic noise, and even the honking of the geese faded into the distance as we walked deeper into the trees. There was only the sound of the wind in the trees and a far-away conversation between crows.
Harry and I found a sunny spot to rest. I sat down on a log and he found a cool patch of grass to flop down in. I broke out the Canine Canteen® to give Harry a drink. He'd been dragging his tongue on the ground (it's a Corgi thing) and it was covered in dirt.
We both had a nice long drink and let the warm spring sun shine on our faces. I suddenly realized that, for the first time in a very long time, I was happy - peacefully, doggishly happy.
I leaned over and gave Harry a big hug, burying my face in his thick fur, warm from the sun. He licked my face, happy that I'd learned something.
He's a pretty smart dog.