I let my feelings get the best of me today, which in turn brought out the worst in me. Mindless chore completion and a trip to the gym did nothing to soothe the savage beast. Nonsense spewed from her foaming mouth and when it became clear that she would remain until day's end, I decided it might be prudent to leave her to her own devices. Why not take a walk? Why, it's right up there with the daily apple or prune juice to combat attitude malaise. Add a dog to the prescription and you're on the road to recovery.
I packed up the canine and drove to Poughkeepsie. Hardly the Disneyland of the northeast, it does boast of a marvelous new attraction- the Walkway Over the Hudson. The longest pedestrian bridge in the world, its 1.28 mile span offers unobstructed views of the river set to the heartbeat of scores of walkers, joggers and cyclists. From the moment our feet and paws hit the pavement, I could feel my inner monster loosen her grasp. Just what the witch doctor ordered.
Walking with Gracie makes me laugh. She is a fur-covered dose of Prosac without the side effects. Her goofy grin set to full power, she scores head pats, butt rubs, and at the very least, charmed smiles from our fellow walkers. A party waiting to happen, she issues countless invitations to her festivities and receives few refusals. Her guest list grows exponentially as I follow in her four footsteps. "It's okay-I'm with the dog."
The realization of 20 years of reclamation efforts, the Walkway Over the Hudson is the rebirth of an abandoned railroad bridge damaged by fire on May 8, 1974. Failed attempts to save it led to popular opinion that it would eventually be torn down. Bill Sepe, a local handyman obsessed with the idea of a pedestrian walkway, formed Walkway Over the Hudson in 1992. While his original plan to restore the bridge with volunteer labor and funds didn't work, the organization took over ownership of the bridge in 1998. In 2004, a new board with a greater vision was in place, and in 2007 joined forces with the Dyson Foundation to raise the necessary funds. The project took 16 months and $38.8 million dollars to complete. Managed by the state as an historic park, the handyman's obsession stands as a glorious tribute to the tenacity of its supporters.
In our precarious economic times, even the most successful projects face the pressures of downsizing. New York State is considering the closing of 41 state parks and 14 historic sites, and the Walkway may feel the sting of that decision. A charge for parking may be in place by summer and the winter may find the Walkway closed on certain days. One trip across this masterpiece will prove that these problems are well worth tackling.
As we finished our stroll, I realized I no longer carried the weight of my miserable mood. Unable to stand the euphoria brought on by clear air and spectacular views, she must have hurled herself into the river. A glass of Cabernet and a salad at one of my local haunts would keep her there.
Like Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz", I had found what I needed in my own backyard, or more specifically, in Gracie. Sweet and short-sighted, she offers immediate relief to anxiety and access to the simplest of pleasures. When in doubt, listen to the dog.
For more information on the Walkway Over the Hudson, visit www.walkway.org.
Share your unique style with new Blogger themes
5 weeks ago