“The poison oak leaves are already turning orange” I say. My feet landing on the trail feeling the weight of Jack and the osprey carrier. Today was Jacks turn to go on a hike with Billy and me. I let Jack walk down the hill, past the lavender and what I call cattails because of their soft ends, but I think are a type of flax. He walked along the edge of the curb until he got to branches growing out into the street. He stops to examine them, Billy is sniffing all along, and I’m engaging my most patient self. I keep Jack in the carrier on the trail still, the smell of dog poop permeates my nostrils and the thought of Jack tasting it runs through my mind. My legs work hard to get us up that first hill, step over the fallen tree, and climb up the old wooden steps. I’m bringing Jack into my special place, the walk I’ve taken almost religiously for the past eight years. I can still feel my quads wet inside my rain suit, water dripping in my eyes, black dog hair sticking to my hands and the smell of dog piss, from the first week after my mom died all those years ago. Billy, Zappa, and I would be up on the trail early in the morning. It was a wet and stormy winter. I would wear my mom’s raincoat to be close to her. It smelt like her house, musty, eventually needing to be thrown away. The moss on the trees was bright green and the creek ran fast. The tears on my cheeks ran just as fast, my eyes puffy and swollen, my world changed forever. Never imagining then I would be here today hiking with my little boy. I tell Jack all about the bark on the trees, how the moss is brown but will turn green, and that someday, when he’s bigger I’ll teach him how to hike on this trail without getting poison oak. My memories of today merging with my memories of the past.