you walk your dog...
You walk your dog twice a day, every day for five years -- with very few exceptions -- along the same neighborhood route, and you get to learn a few things besides when to watch your step.
I've seen a police chase just like on "Cops" where the suspect fled his car after wrecking it in a front yard.
I've seen probably two dozen shooting stars, one lunar eclipse and a strange, silvery ribbon fluttering high above one night that turned out to be a large flock of migrating geese.
I've seen children progress from being pushed in strollers to pushing their Razor scooters down the sidewalk. ... I've seen good friends move away and new ones move in.
I learned that one family was on vacation because their lights would stay on after 10 p.m. for one or two weeks at a time. The rest of the year it was lights out at nine. I noticed there was a troubled marriage when a creature-of-habit runner suddenly began making dog-walking excursions at night and talking on a cell phone.
I saw the spot where one neighbor's dog was killed by an apparent drunken driver who swerved into the median as they were walking along the very same path I used ... I've seen relationships blossom as evidenced by new cars parked outside houses overnight.
I've heard the radio call on my Walkman and then seen the big-screen replay of Derek Jeter making an incredible putout thru a broad, open living room window as I passed by.
I've heard the rush of the James river a block away on a breezy night. ... I've heard the silence and plane-free skies the nights after 9-11. ... I've experienced the deep darkness of the night broken by churning generators in the wake of Hurricane Isabel.
I've seen neighbors pushed in wheelchairs by caregivers and then, over time, cease to emerge from their homes at all. ... I've seen the gathering of friends in streams of cars at the home of a newly widowed friend.
I've seen the seasons come and go, know which road holds on to it's Winter ice the longest and which parts provide cooling breezes in the Summer. ...
Yeah, you get to know a place in a very intimate way just by walking its streets and observing the goings on. So when you have to leave that place, it is like losing a part of your day. But it's nice to know that I still have the memories and the friendships. And I still have the dog who made it all possible. Off we go to make new memories and observations in a new part of town.