King of the Hood

I needed to get outside, I needed exercise, I wanted to shoot, and the dog needed to go for a walk.  The perfectly logical course of action was to take the camera, the dog, and go for a long walk on a beautiful fall day.

The dog has his own agenda.  He’s determined to claim the neighborhood between our neighborhood and Stringer’s ridge.  It’s a neighborhood full of dilapidated chain-link fences and scary looking dogs who bark at us endlessly.  Tisen ignores these dogs.  He takes a cat-like approach to tormenting these fenced-in dogs.

He takes his time sniffing every blade of grass, marking each clump taller than 6 inches–he does this so slowly I expected him to sit down and start grooming himself.  The poor neighborhood watch dog goes ballistic throughout the whole show and I try to get Tisen to move on quickly.

Having two hands free might have come in handy, but letting go of my camera and bending down to reach Tisen was not an option–at least not without risking knocking Tisen in the head with my swinging camera.

At the ridge, I sit on a tree log placed at the overlook to shoot the view.  Tisen pulls on the lead and I knock the lens hood off my camera and watch it roll halfway down the hill.  I manage to leave Tisen at the top leashed to a branch in full view as I slide my way down to retrieve my lens hood.  Being a klutz and a multi-tasking photographer are probably a bad combination, but I make it safely back to the top where I am treated to exuberant adoration from my dog who apparently had little faith I would return at all, let alone safely.

As we return home, we pause once again in front of the barking dogs.  I look around and realize that if you value having a really affordable place to live with beautiful surroundings, this is a great neighborhood.  There are nothing but colorful trees on the three hillsides that nearly form a bowl around this little valley.

But then, we pass a house with a porch covered in glass objects.  They were scattered around, fallen over, abandoned like the porch was a miniature dump.  This might not have been so disturbing by itself, but the glass was mingled with a child’s toys that looked like they had been left in the middle of play.  It made me shudder.

A motion in a tree above the porch caught my eye and I spotted a Eurasian Collared Dove sitting there, looking at me as if it wondered how long it would take me to notice him.  It’s a somewhat rare sighting here at the edge of their range, and rarer to me having grown up in a part of the world where they don’t roam.  I smile and wonder what this bird thinks of the neighborhood.