I completely forgot it was a public holiday Monday, had my early walk, made breakfast and woke everyone, only to get resoundingly scolded by my irate family...then I sat down at the computer to prepare my courses, with Wednesday just around the corner. Around two I felt repentant about shortening Claire's morning walk to start work, and took a break, driving to the Shinrin Park - only this is Japan, and on public holidays every venue is overcrowded...when we got to the parking area it was full, and the attendant asked if I really wanted to queue, it might take around forty minutes to get in...but having got that far, with Claire getting excited with whiffs of the autumn air, I decided to wait, the two of us with windows wound down and Camila on loud in stereo sound.
Fortunately the ten cars in front of us moved through the gate at a steady pace as people left the park, and finally it was our turn, after only twenty minutes or so. Claire knows the way, through the horse museum and down to the big park, and made a bee line for the lake...I didn't fancy letting her go wild in there with all the people around, so I coaxed her away, circling the pond to double back to the museum and go in the opposite direction.
The park has a truly natural feel even though it's restored from land which was used as a racetrack. We skirted the perimeter, sticking to the small coppices rather than the paths, and I thought I would rename Claire Tree Winder, the many times she got the long leash wrapped around the trees, or Cobweb Hunter for the times I had to break through webs in her wake. Apparently there's a new spider silk fabric coming out sometime soon, but I know the feel already on my face! I was building up a sweat as we dashed around, and Claire was zinging in wide circles on the leash with wild excitement after she found a pigeon and it flew away. Claire's energy reminds me of fireworks, she soars higher and higher, getting more and more energy as she runs, and then for an incredible moment it stops, seems to disappear as she sets on the pigeon, and then explodes in a passionate burst of frenzied energy. I finally got tired and slipped, tumbling down the bank of wet, dark humus near the US army fence, and decided to call it a day. We slunk home, both of us muddy and exausted and intensely satisfied.