I got out much earlier than I did last year. I was able to negotiate the muddy bits well enough - I loathe mud - and there were still lots of dainty flowers blooming. Really too late for the trillium - I always miss them; it's the mud issue, don't you know - but there were a few latecomers, including one beautiful white one: small, precise, elegant. It appears I didn't require my inter-cranial Muzak, today. No Reynaldo Hahn waltzes, no moaning Bessie Smith - well, not until half-way through when "I used to be your sweet mama, sweet papa, but now I'm just as sour as can be" wedged itself, sideways, into my feeble dome. And it looped.... Until then, the sound of all the birds singing, and the tinkle of thin rivulets careening down the hillside was more than enough to make me a very contented fellow.
I saw very few people - which is always nice - but when I do, I find it interesting to see who will greet me and who won't. At least not unless I do it first. Men almost always do, running or walking. Women are harder to figure, though. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won't. It doesn't appear to be related to age or fitness level or apparent economic stature. But it does get easier to predict if they have a dog with them. Yes. I've done an exhaustive study and, after much data analysis, I've discovered that the more attractive the dog, the more likely its female owner is to say hello to me first. I don't know why this. But just today, I had additional proof.
On the return loop of my hike I passed a woman with a pretty little Cocker Spaniel. She smiled at me quite warmly and said hello. Just previous to that, I encountered two women with two really appalling looking dogs. I love mutts - prefer them - but these were the kind of dogs who looked put together from spare parts, who didn't so much have coats, but furry Cubist quilts. I'm sure they were very sweet dogs, but their owners had rather a different aspect. One glowered at me, while the other averted her eyes nervously. When I passed them and said hello, the glowering one garbled out the same back at me, through gritted teeth. It will take a bit more research, of course, but I begin to think there is a more specific connection: The less good-looking a women's dog, the more likely she is to see me as some sort of sexual sadist, or someone equally unfortunate to encounter in the forest.
Toward the end of my hike I saw, coming toward me, a handsome young fellow wearing nothing but small black shorts. He was only walking, but I'm aware that there is a trend right now for running barefoot, so I'm thinking that had something to do with his ostentatiously spare wardrobe. Pale skinned, with hair almost as dark as his shorts, the only other item attached to him was a small pack. Fastened at the chest - right under his pecs - rather than the waist. The pack itself must have been in the back, because the thin strap was all that was visible from the front. As he walked toward me, it looked like nothing more than that his black brassiere had slipped down, exposing his tiny nipples. He looked very calm and content - dreamy, even - loosely putting down one bare foot, then the next. The sun was in his eyes, but when he got close, he looked up and gave me a breathy, languorous "hi-i-i-i...." Fun.
I hope the weather continues like this a bit longer.
Note to mother-in-law: I had my phone. Mwah!