Lessons from the lake

As a neighborhood resident for 25 years, I have always lived near White Rock Lake, but not until a few months ago, was I close enough to get on my bike and ride and the Rock. It was one of those first spring Sunday afternoons when it felt good to be outside and you were reminded of the newness of spring with the budding trees and the abundance of babies.

I soon discovered that a Sunday afternoon ride at the lake takes concentration. I took off from my house and, after dodging the usual traffic, hit the bike path at the boat house off Williamson. Here it was a different kind of dodging. People walking – people walking dogs – people walking children – people in love walking (their own category) and other bikers, many of whom were also in the same category, with children, lovers and dogs in tow. How someone can take a dog on a bike beats me. I never had one that was well trained.

Having been at the lake at various stages of my life as both the walker of a child and a dog, I recalled those days for the different set of antenna to determine when you jig or jog at any given moment.

But once the maneuvering was under control, it was great to enjoy. All around me was the diversity that we know exists in Dallas, but seldom see in one place. The African beat of two drummers blended with salsa blaring from a car where a dad sat on the hood, kissing his baby’s ear in time to the music. Gay couples walked matching dogs, and everyone was accepting of space and generally polite. Of course, the serious bikers and runners were long gone, way too focused to have to deal with the flexibility that this mass of humanity and dog flesh demanded.

Speaking of dogs. Anyone considering what breed of dog to buy has only to sit in one place at White Rock and interview dog owners. I stopped one fellow walking a standard poodle to ask if they really don’t shed. Nope, he said, as the dog tied him in a knot with the leash as we chatted. “But they are very active,” he called as the dog dragged him off.

My favorite dog of the day was a three-legged lab, who jogged along after her master as if three legs was the norm. I saw Lady and the Tramp and all their friends.

The lake attracts every stage of life – the newest lovers, the new lovers and the older lovers… those who were clearly enjoying being alone and those for whom the exercise was the reason for being.

There was lots of eye contact as I rode: hellos and nods. Not that I knew any of these folks, just a recognition that we are still a village, even if we don’t get together very often.

As I came around one corner, I also saw that in at least two of my neighbors. Set up on the path was a big sign that said “Free Advice.” Two guys were talking very seriously to some folks who had stopped, and, as I wheeled by very slowly, tempted to stop, I heard the guy say “Now, if you will do exactly what I tell you to…”

What a great idea. I wonder if they can help me decide what kind of dog to get.

I didn’t stop, but the next time, I will.


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