30 – Walking on Menemsha beach around noon, one fishing boat heading into the channel, the wind at our backs, the sand untouched but for one set of dog tracks, I watched Leo romping along the edge of the small dune. He stopped every so often to make eye contact with me. I’ve always loved how he does that, how he checks in for approval.

Made me recall a golden summer day when we were walking on the beach. He wasn’t even one year old yet. It was the day I decided to encourage him to try swimming. He’d never shown any interest. In fact, he seemed frightened by the sound of the tide turning the stones at the water’s edge.

So I picked him up and carried him into the water until I was waist deep in it. He looked up at me as if to ask what I was thinking. I don’t swim mom! I told him it was time to try swimming and he nestled closer to my body, but when I held him out I saw his little legs start kicking. It seemed so natural to him. I wanted him to try it.

I let him go and sure enough that puppy was swimming. Just like that, his legs paddled efficiently and he circled me once. But then he looked right into my eyes and headed for the sand. I did it mom. I swam. And now I’m heading in. So I followed him and he shook himself off and then came rushing to me for recognition. Well done Leo. Nice swimming!

He hasn’t shown any interest in swimming since then so I don’t push him. We both know he can do it if he wants. He’d rather stay on land. Me too. We are walkers, not swimmers, great walkers.