By Marion Brody Kelly
Out of the car. Pads on hot pavement. So many feet have left stories in the dust. New ideas come in through your nose and mouth, and response goes out through your feet. You must be a dog. You want to be everywhere because if you stand still, the world might turn without you. Nothing needs a name, because every particular thing has its own smell and taste.
Sammy and Jake scrabble through the parking lot of the Old Salem Visitor’s Center. Dancing with the leashes, I lose the Slurpie bottle more than once.
They know the rules, but at the moment, they just don’t care.
As we turn onto the Strollway, first Jake then Sam adjusts to the thrill of this new place, slowing their surges to eager walking. What a great greenway. I feel like the un-Goldilocks. I liked one trail for being so short and another for being long, but this one seems to be just right.
The Strollway welcomes walkers, runners, workers on break, and families on vacation. The path stays clean, with care and the help of regularly spaced trash cans. There are folks on benches eating sandwiches and reading. All along the way, everyone seems not just friendly, but enjoying the act of friendliness. We all belong to the same club: The Society of People Outside on the Strollway on a Summer Day.
We walk by the edge of Old Salem, past bamboo, over a wooden bridge, through crape myrtle, under the corner of an office building, and up a steep hill with the highway high above us. Frequent maps make it easy to track our progress. Nature surrounds us for most of the walk, but it weaves through residential and business districts. I love walking through these old neighborhoods, remembering when some of this was kudzu-choked rubble. Now rebuilt, it has regained its dignity and charm without feeling too cute.
Then in the next block, we are downtown. One Piedmont Plaza welcomes us with its fountains. I walk around looking for rules, but Jake doesn’t wait. He flops into the water and starts paddling. When he realizes he can’t jump back out, he gives me a look, the look that says, “Sorry, I’m a dog. I didn’t realize.” I help him out and Sammy licks water from his face.
No one seems to mind his furry dip, and we walk on to the end of the Strollway before heading back. An excellent greenway, close to perfect. Another one we will return to for sure.