I've started sharing a quote from my church service on my Facebook author page. Today's quote, however, didn't come from the service but I came across it while researching -- and it's everything I live for, and write about.
"Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world... The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared."
~ C.S. Lewis, from his 1955 memoir, Surprised By Joy
This reminds me of an experiment I tried once while I still lived in Cobourg, Ontario, and my dog Stella was still young and wild, and needing hours of exercise each day. I read somewhere about walking without speaking to your dog, and that your silence would make your dog pay closer attention to you (apparently dogs get more information from our body language than from our spoken language).
One Sunday morning, we did our regular hike through the Northumberland forest, likely the long and rigourous C Trail (I always went at a time there was the least chance of running into other people and their dogs because I HAD to let Stella run off-leash). Instead of constantly calling to her and giving her commands, I hiked the entire trail in silence. We made eye contact, I might have gestured, but it really was "at most a nudge" and it made the walk a pleasure.
I'm not sure if my silence made her pay more attention to me (this is Stella we're talking about) but I know I was more relaxed at the end of the hike. It was like a silent meditation in the woods -- "with the sounds and silences of the outdoor world" around us.
Abby, pictured above, is an easier dog with whom to walk so most of our walks are done quietly. Abby definitely shares my taste for each mood of the countryside -- and my mood as a human.