Ruckle Park is my favorite place on Salt Spring Island to take in dramatic scenery and shoreline. But for a restorative walk through forest and meadow, I always enjoy Duck Creek Park. The trails are kept up nicely and allow for a short or longer easy hike. Benches donated in honor of loved ones are scattered along the trails for those who need a rest or a place to contemplate. Simon, my brother-in-law, says it’s a place that makes visitors feel as though all is right with the world.
We pass other wanderers, most with dogs. A gentle, overweight boxer. A very happy Labrador. A border collie cross with a red bandana and a chipper jaunt. Salt Spring has the friendliest dogs ever. Most of the resident canines spend their time smiling broadly and saying howdy to everybody in dog language, which usually involves rubbing copious amounts of dog hair on nearby legs and sitting down on the feet attached to those legs while emitting large, contented doggy sighs.
On this day, a lady was walking the trails with three small dogs and the happy Lab pictured above. As our group approached, she called out, asking if we had any dogs. When we replied in the negative, she immediately put one of the small dogs in my hubby’s arms. Somewhat startled, he assumed Simon knew her and gamely held the little pooch for a bit. Meanwhile, the lady dogwalkers was on a verbal roll, telling us that people who owned large dogs needed to know how to handle them and most didn’t and that was because they were afraid of the dogs and they needed to get over that, “I mean right now!” The small dogs surged around our legs, tangling leashes and tussling with each other. The Lab contentedly deposited herself on the nearest foot, oblivious to her human’s aggravation about other large dogs. The lady wrapped up her self-described diatribe by declaring that people who did not know how to handle big dogs should “GET A CAT. That’s what I say! I’ve got plenty of ’em!” By now the Lab was a bit discouraged with the delay…
Finally, she and her pack moved on. We then learned that Simon did not in fact know her. (We always assume he knows everybody on-island – it’s a pretty small place.) I kept giggling and teasing hubby. We wandered on, plucking fragrant blackberries from the side of the trail, watching dragonflies shimmer in the sun and chatting about anything brought to mind by a lovely late summer day. With so much dark news of late, it is good to feel, for a few moments, that all is right with the world.