A Neighborhood Stroll

Neighborhood Stroll on a Lovely Autumn Afternoon

It was a beautiful fall day, with deep blue skies, abundant sunshine, and temperatures in the mid- to upper-60s. Which is, like, the best kind of day, in my opinion. But I was tied to my desk for most of the afternoon, banging out board minutes and emails. Which is, like, the worst kind of work, in my opinion. As the afternoon wore on, I became increasingly tired and grumpy, with the faintest fingers of seasonal depression starting to grip my heart. So I decided that I was going to knock off work at 4:30 PM — no matter how much progress (or regress) I’d made — and go for a stroll through my neighborhood to seek some joy and peace and decompression.

Neighborhood Stroll on a Lovely Autumn Afternoon

There’s a bend in the road, just around the corner from our house, where the trees put on a show every October. The fall colors become more and more vibrant day by day, week by week, usually peaking in the third or fourth week of the month. And it genuinely felt like a privilege, a gift, to be able to soak it in at least for a little while.

As I walked through the neighborhood nature preserve and subsequent streets closer to my house, I found myself smiling and snapping pictures of the pretty trees. Not that the pictures ever do justice to the beauty of an October afternoon in Ohio. I just wanted to soak it in as deeply as possible. I wanted to remember the color of the light and the leaves.

Neighborhood Stroll on a Lovely Autumn Afternoon

I was feeling decently decompressed, a growing sense of joy and peace swelling in my chest, as I turned down the last sidewalk towards my house. And along the sidewalk, I encountered a neighbor walking his dog. The dog was pulling at its leash, a muscular bull-terrier mix. The neighbor tried to keep the dog reined in while also reassuring me that the animal was friendly.

Just as the words were leaving the neighbor’s mouth, however, the dog’s mouth closed on the pinky finger of my left hand. His sharp front teeth sank in around the outermost knuckle, and I yowled in pain while yanking my hand out of the dog’s mouth. It hurt badly, and blood immediately started streaming from three different puncture wounds on the finger.

The neighbor seemed stunned and unsure of what to do. It seemed hard for him to be able to believe what had just happened. He asked if I was sure that the dog’s teeth had actually broken the skin, even though my hand was pretty bloody at this point. He asked if I maybe wanted a wet paper towel from his house. He didn’t actually apologize for the situation, but he seemed to feel bad about things.

I said that I needed to just go home and clean up the injuries myself, but that I’d come back later to check on the dog’s vaccination history (which later turned out to be encouragingly up-to-date). I made it back to my house without incident and cleaned things up. There was a decent amount of pain, bruising, and open wounds, but it seems unlikely that there will be long-term harm. Still, it was a discouraging end to my neighborhood stroll. I had started out by seeking to bring a heart full of beauty, joy, and peace back to my house — but I ended up with a throbbing, messy, chaotic mess instead.

This entry was posted in Health, Hiking, Introspection, Kent, Photography, Recreation, Seasonal Depression. Bookmark the permalink.

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