Not very long ago, walking my dogs after the workday hardly seemed the stuff of good blogging. Tonight could have been a feature of a popular television show in the early 2000s, “Whose Line is it Anyway”. For those who may remember, it featured comic actors who performed improvisation on random topics. A warm August evening dog-walk might well have been one.

Shortly after arriving home, Dexter and Comet insisted I take them out as has been my habit. I probably encouraged their attitude as I have growing enthusiasm in recent weeks as I am retiring – this week. One of the houses I pass in my neighborhood has fascinated the dogs for many years. Dogs come and go. It has periodically been for sale, then neglected, then purchased and quietly renovated for almost two years. Tonight I finally saw someone arriving as I approached.

My cheery “I like what you have done with your yard!” fell on deaf ears. The man who got out of his pickup truck five feet from me, looked in my direction and wordlessly walked up his driveway, He did not strike me as someone hearing impaired or unable to understand English. Years ago, two carpenters bought it. Then a younger military couple bought it, but did not appear to live in it. Realtors changed. Weeds grew taller. Trees and shrubs withered and died. Recently, a stakebed truck piled with refuse sat in the driveway for weeks. However, tonight this was the first person who “looked” like a homeowner.

Photo by Brett Sayles on

Being ignored was not the strangest encounter I had tonight. I decided to take the dogs up a narrow lane that is bounded by a church, non-native pine trees, and homes that had been relocated from a San Diego neighborhood thirty or forty years ago. (A freeway now runs through that area.) The lane has been a favorite walk from time to time for the last sixteen or seventeen years.

It was a pair of legs at the top of a homemade ladder leaning against the pine tree, I missed when passing by earlier that stopped the 3 of us. “What made you come down this way?” A man’s irritated voice continued. “You always walk those dogs here?”

M_, when we made introductions a few minutes later, was perched on a platform he made in the pine tree. He was hunting coyotes. I assume we all heard their hunting yelps a few minutes earlier in the hills just north of the neighborhood. Not that I could blame his desire for revenge. Apparently, they snatched one of his feline companions from his yard. He was protecting his other pets. I think I reassured him, in that I would respect his wishes to walk the dogs on the pavement. And not being judgmental of his evening plans, I made a mental note to not walk up that lane after dark.

Turning toward home, I marveled at the big full moon rising above El Cajon. Of course. With a little lunacy evident already, I wanted to get back inside with no more encounters. With more freedom starting next week to get to know my neighbors now that I do not leave at dawn and return from work at dusk – I think I may wander elsewhere for my blogging inspiration.

Photo by Joonas kääriäinen on

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