Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nature is a City Dweller

Usually bogged down in traffic, the 10 West Freeway from Santa Monica to Downtown usually only offers a view of smog, the bright lights of downtown, and the blinking crimson glow of brake lights.

Daylight savings times has brought with it a new wonder. Three days ago, I glanced up at a street light that overlooks the freeway, and nearly did a double take when I discovered what looked like the outline of a falcon perched atop it. Naturally, at the time there wasn't much of a chance to confirm or deny this, but considering I've been finding birds of prey in all sorts of unusual places lately (namely my own backyard), I figured I couldn't discount this incident. The next day, around the same exit, I glanced up again. Yet again, there was the bird. Unmistakably, a falcon. Yesterday, there it was again.

Things like this shouldn't astound as much as they do, but as much as I am a city girl at heart, I have a thing for the wild. It's for this reason that I drag my poor little pup to the canyons (or what passes for wilderness in Los Angeles) for a weekly hike. Thalia has every reason in the world to hate these hikes. She's a spoiled princess who much prefers nestling into her plush sleeping bag on the bed than a good walk. But she's also a chunky princess who needs to shed some pounds, and needs to learn how to be a dog. So, however against her will, she is dragged up to the canyon every week. Every week, the experience proves nearly traumatizing for the 7 pound pup, who freezes up in fright at even the sight of the bigger dogs that haunt the off-leash playground.

Because of her short stubby legs, she can't make it up the steepest part of the climb, so I end up taking with me a backpack with a soft dog purse stuffed into it. She ends up stuffed into it for the hardest part of the climb, and then once we're at the top, one more time she's back on her feet, on her leash, tugging and freezing at other pups on sight.

This past Sunday, I decided to do something different. At the end of the steepest part of the hill, I decided, with the help of my friends, to pull her out and try something different. She was let out of the bag, and immediately, began the old routine of freezing up and staying put. I picked her up, carried her a few feet, and set her down again. She took her time, but after a good ten minutes and a couple false starts, her ears started pricking up, her tail began to slowly levitate, and soon the little chihuahua was acting like a dog. When the time came to put her in the bag, she resisted. Instead, she headed proudly down the mountain, for the first time in a while, actually enjoying this hike like a regular (pint-sized) pooch.

I guess like dog, like owner. Even a city dog can develop an appreciation for a taste of the wilderness.


  1. Found some interesting info online and wanted to share with you...

    The falcon is known to hover in the sky in slow motion or sit patiently on a perch while on the lookout for possible prey. The falcon uses its mind, calculating the best move before taking action. The lesson the falcon teaches us is to wait for the most opportune moment before making your move. If you take the falcon's lesson of patience and precise thinking to heart you will attain more successes than failures.

  2. Aw, that's really great to read. Thank you for that!