10.09.2012

Klingle Valley... So much potential

Grant and Didg walk a natural bridge over Klingle Valley Road

today rather than drive to school to get my son Grant I walked...
yes... I had considered riding the bike
bringing Grant's bike and having him ride
which would have meant riding the Frankenbakfiet... which is fine

but...
I wanted to bring the dog
as a statement
as a bit of a silent protest

and of course... the dog needed to be walked
I needed to get some exercise 
so... I walked to get my son from school rather than drive my car

my route was simple...
a dip in the woods then over and under Porter Street and then onto Klingle Valley
Klingle Valley is a road that fell to disrepair during the Barry years
and well... this road is stuck in some sort of post apocalyptic state

there are massive pieces of road caving into the earth
there are fallen trees on the ground and creating natural bridges over the road
then under a beautiful bridge that holds Connecticut Avenue at Cleveland Park there is lots of trash
strange random trash... a tv, a computer, a porta john and a mish mash random stuff
then lots of beer cans and the boxes that would hold them

and finally... a lock on the door
a lock on the door that leads into a room/rooms underneath the bridge
wish I had explored with a flashlight
but took it for granted that the doors under the bridge would always be unlocked
this was an after school hang out for some kids
they were drinking beer and whatever...
it is good that there is a lock on that door

yes... I had seen kids hanging out under the bridge... clearly "up to no good"
blowing the whistle is not my thing
and when I would see them... I am in a rush headed to get my kids to school
so there is not time for a conversation about their activity being a bad idea
there was no time for me to give them a little lecture about... pack it out/pack it in

worse than your smoking and drinking!
YOU ARE LEAVING TRASH EVERYWHERE!

so... I made the march up Klingle Valley Road with the dog at my side
up past Taragon and WIST
moving briskly
feeling a tad overdressed in my wool cycling jersey and cycling wind vest

as I got closer to John Eaton my heart rate started to accelerate
I was stressing about bringing the dog to school
after my message on the list serve there was a flurry of activity
yes... I did stir a hornet's nest

my efforts may have made me more enemies than friends

I did not want confrontation... but I wanted to make a point
a "request" is a "request"
I took that request under consideration
viewed it with respect and then respectfully ignored that request

I walked an extra block to approach the school so that I would have to pass fewer parents
I walked so that I would not have to cut through a tightly knit crowd
the people stand where ever the F they want to
usually people like to stand at the doorway gap or somewhere else where people are trying to funnel through
I did not want to have to meander through the chaos with the dog in tow

yes... if people could select the worse place to stand... that is where they will stand
but... that is not going to be corrected by me
that may just be human nature
or at least human nature at school drop off and pick up

so... I did not stand on the corner... I did not stand across the street
I took the perch I had held before they sent out "the request"
I stood under the tree along side the building

there was a moment's anxiety when a woman dressed in the uniform of the DC police walked up the sidewalk in my direction
I was relieved that she was just getting a sweatshirt from her car that was illegally parked

time passed... no one else had their dog on campus
a woman who voiced her sadness about not being able to bring her dog was within view, but dog-less
I did not see some of the other parents who usually show up with dogs
so... with a dog by my side I waited

time moved slow...
half of my son's class got out late
apparently they were misbehaving so the teacher held them in the building for a few extra minutes
or I heard another child say as he exited the building and a parent asked where their child wa

people filed by
a few children greeted my dog
several children passed closely looking at my dog trying to initiate contact as they passed
then two boys... one maybe too young for school sat with my dog who was patiently lying at my feet
then the second boy waited his turn to greet my dog
there was the requisite words on yes you may pet my dog
then I monitored the interplay

the boys were sweet and the dog was not bothered by their approach

it put me at ease that the boys were benefiting from the presence of my dog
just as I had felt
benefits that outweigh the disadvantages

life has its long list of "what ifs"
but we can not remove all of the could be\would be potential "what ifs"
not only would that be absurd
it would be impossible

really... 
the kids are at risk of getting hit by a car
but do we remove cars from the equation?
no... 
we educate our children on how to behave around cars
and 
we ask that car drivers drive in a safe predictable fashion

finally my son exited the building
he was wearing both of the jackets he had left in school the week prior
he acted as if he did not see me
I gave him a few minutes to socialize before I guided him towards home

Grant was less than excited about having to walk home
there was a bit of a mini rebellion
he is correct... we do not live that close
but really... we do not live that far

but... his protest was in vain
no matter his feeling on things... we did not have the car
walking was not only my plan
walking was our only option

I told Grant that we would take a Hilly Billy Shortcut
which is dad's version of a shortcut... usually a little more interesting... not always an actual short cut

so... there was the classic battle of the backpack
Grant wanted me to carry his backpack
today I did not feel like carrying his backpack
I did not offer... but he could have traded for the dog

we walked off the beaten path into the woods
on into Klingle Valley
Grant ran in and out of the gardens of Taragon as Didg and I walked on the asphalt of the now closed road

we talked... we had been talking
that is one of the great things about walking
walking facilitates talking

we talked about Grant's day at school
how he got in trouble... how he got into a bit of a fight with one of his friends...
and how they both got sent to the principal's office
I felt as if I was getting more of a story than if he were talking to me from the back seat of the car

Grant got some Andy Griffith sort of advice
or the best his dad could do... nothing too firm... just some reiteration of what the teacher and principal had said
and the topic shifted
I talked about the dog situation at the school
and how they were going to have a panel discussion where they revisit the "dogs at pick up and drop off"

in the end... the walk home was not a chore
Grant enjoyed it
the walking... the talking
we spent a few minutes trying to help the stream say on the right side of the road
rather than crossing the road and then crossing back again

we got the stream flowing on the right side
but not the majority of the stream
it is more of a project than our quick visit
but we had fun unclogging little rock dams and allowing the stream to flow on that side

we got home
I grilled some chicken on a stick and cooked up some edema-me  
the boys went to karate in shifts
now dinner is done and I am in the present time

it was nice
the Vice Principal called tonight
she did not call to talk to me about Grant's visit to her office today
but to discuss the dog situation and let it be known that my voice has been heard
and that the administration had no idea that things would flare up like this

the list serve has been on fire
not that many messages
but volatile messages
it is a campus divided

DOG VERSUS NO DOG!

like most wars
not many friendships are being made
like most wars
even after peace is made I do not expect the friendships to prosper

which is fine... I think that my friends will remain my friends
and the strangers... they were strangers before
and if they choose not to like me
well... I will know no different as we are strangers who have yet to interact


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