Sometimes you have a bad(ish) day and you’re down in the dumps. You wait until 7 when the golf course is closed and you head out with your dogs through the miracle that is your town, destination the golf course and the big empty beyond. The Big Empty is the best doctor you know.
In the bad(ish) day you’ve forgotten the depth of that miracle or you haven’t put all the pieces together.
There on last two holes (at the end of your alley) are four young people playing golf and having the BEST time. They’re wearing cowboy hats and boots and whooping at their bad hits. The grass has just been mowed and it’s a little lumpy here and there from all the recent rain. A couple of women with a golden retriever approach and your dogs bark. You turn to walk around the high school because of the cars around the club house. You think, “There must be a lot of people playing.” Then you look into the course from behind the high school and you see no one is there.
You take Bear and Teddy through the “secret” way into the course, a shady part you don’t see much in summer but love in winter. You make the loop, walk past Mr. Martinez’ house, under the big trees and you hear a motor coming from the driving range which, this year, they’ve been watering and mowing. A guy on the mower comes toward you and the dogs and turns off the engine. You say, by way of staving off whatever might come out about dogs and all that, “It’s beautiful. You’ve done an amazing job.”
And then the guy tells you…
“Have you seen the nature trail I made over there by the ponds? It goes right along the water so you can see the ducks and geese.”
You’d seen it but you didn’t know it was part of the course.
“You can take your dogs there. There’s even a little dog park where they can run. Have you seen it? I put a ball throwing machine there so if your dogs fetch you don’t have to throw all the time.”
You point at Teddy, “He fetches. She doesn’t.”
“And you can go way out there. I made trails all over that field. Did you see the hammock I hung from Annie’s tree? I call it Annie’s tree.” (I later learn that’s his wife’s name) “You’re welcome to use the hammock.”
“I saw it. It’s beautiful. I took a picture of it. It just looked like summer to me.”
“Yeah, there are trails all along out here. You can go along the ditch, and meet up another trail I made out there so you don’t have to go on the road.”
I know all these trails. For the most part (since they involved walking through the golf course) they’re my winter trails.
“I walk a lot of places around here, but this is my favorite.”
“The views are incredible,” he said. “Anyway, this is all here now. You just go through right there.” He pointed to a small gap in the bushes. “You can get there from here.”
“I’ll try it tomorrow!”
It’s fast getting dark. “I’d better finish this,” he says, turning on the mower.
“Yeah, you’re losing your light.”
“Have a good night.”
“You too,” I say, and, “Thank you.”
I am talking to my angel. His name is Jeremy.
Last winter, when there was a mild brouhaha over dogs on the golf course, I never imagined a resolution like this. All this summer of exile from the golf course my angel has been setting it up for me, Bear and Teddy.
I think there might be guitars in this song which fits my story perfectly.