Ponder this:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sunny fall afternoon: free association

I am trying to sit outdoors to enjoy the bright blue sky and sunshine; the breeze is just strong enough to keep an edge in the air. Still, I sit for a long time at the picnic table, the last page of my book read and flapping in the wind, a glass of ice water near my elbow, my eyes closed. I am dazed by this head cold that wants to become bronchitis, dazzled by the sun on the fluttering birch leaves as yellow as the sunshine itself. The leaves on the volunteer poplar behind me applaud each draft. Molly is lying on the lawn twenty feet to my right, Peep is lounging with me on the picnic table, occasionally stretching, rolling and twisting just because she can, gazing at me from flirty golden eye slits.

The grass of the lawn and the hay field beyond is so green, vigorously green, a sturdier green than it was in June. Everywhere, dots of brown and gold leaves. The sun on my face feels so good. Through my closed lids, the sun makes all those little blood vessels into the image of a holly bush.

When I was little, we had a book of bedtime stories. One of the stories was a tale of how holly leaves got to be prickly. I remember the simple line drawing of holly berries sliding down the snowy hill on the nice smooth leaf sleds. The leaves got battered and curled at the edges, and the holly was forever after cursed with rough, prickery leaves. I have a former friend who has a holly bush at her house. 

She's a former friend because she disapproves of my dog's lifestyle. Molly is free to come and go as she pleases. Usually she prefers to stay near us, on the lawn or indoors. We have no neighbors, only empty hay fields, stone walls, woods.  In the mornings while Husband and I get ready for work, my girl has her route to travel to check out the morning news. I'm not sure of its exact course, but I know it includes checking the old orchard for bunny trails, and winding in and out of the evergreens along the upper driveway to see who passed by overnight. She's usually back from her rounds in time for us to get her indoors before we have to leave. One morning last fall, she was still out and about, not in sight. I waited, and waited, and called and walked around the field and she didn't turn up. I wasn't happy about it, but I had to go to work, so I left. 
And worried all day. 
When I got home, she sprang out of the arborvitaes in front of the house and greeted me joyfully, none the worse for wear. She was tired that evening, but she was unharmed. I related the story to my friend by email and did not hear from her for a long time. After I had prodded her a few times, she sent me a Dear John letter, saying that the story of Molly having been outdoors all day had so upset her . . . and I must have known it would upset her . . . and we just don't understand each other and so that's that. Her dog has a nice cozy life in the suburbs with two twenty minute walks per day on paved streets, and a nine hundred square foot fenced back yard to explore.

I'm happy for my friend and her dog. They have their routines and they are just as wild about each other and their lives as we and Molly are about ours. I have a great deal of respect for Molly's knowledge of what's going on out there and I'm sure that, at any given time, she knows more than I about what wild things might be around . . . and who to tangle with and who not to. I'm not afraid of the wild things. I'm not afraid of the big empty spaces. My friend used to bring her dog out here to the fields for long country walks. She was always careful to carry a big walking stick in case she met up with a rabid raccoon. When she told me that, I just looked at her, all blank in the face. Yeah, well, I guess there could be a rabid raccoon around someplace here, but I've never seen one, and I've never worried about having to fight one. Hell, I'm the one who stood underneath a fisher and took pictures of it while it growled at me and switched its long furry tail. I wouldn't do it again, probably, but at the time I didn't know how vicious the things were. When I was little, my parents told me over and over that wild animals wanted to stay away from me more than I wanted to stay away from them, and I believed it and it's been borne out by experience. The exception to the rule is the odd coyote who'll sit in a field and stare and stare at us. It only happens every few years, and I don't get a feeling of menace. I think that when they do that, they're just curious, scoping out the competition for rodents. If we walk toward them, at about a hundred feet, they turn around and slowly trot away. 

I have other coyote stories, and other wild animal stories, but this story is just about how people and their dogs live different lives. Just like every marriage is different, every dog/person partnership is different. I know Molly is absolutely in touch with all of her dogness, and she's living the best of a wild life and a pampered life. I don't think my friend's dog is unhappy, but I'm pretty sure Molly wouldn't trade places with her. 

Even if she has to hunker down in the arborvitaes on the occasional day when she stays out playing too long. 
It isn't an issue too much anymore. See Approaching the Autumnal Equinox, second paragraph.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beautiful Molly

It'll be a while before Molly and I roll around in the grass of a warm afternoon.
This is what it was like a few weeks ago.

Noble canine looks west

Noble canine looks south

Molly with a cherry tree growing out of her shoulders. Earth Mother.

Happiest dog in the world. Just look at that smile.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Court People

I have written before about the Court People, about whom we say, "If they could read, and follow directions, they wouldn't be going to court."
So typical, this story: Man threatened to burn baby clothes

Why didn't he just burn them, or throw them away, or mail them to her, or do one of any number of other things, instead of threatening to burn them?
Why didn't the ex-girlfriend just go get the clothes instead of calling the police?
How long had the clothes been there? The child surely would have grown out of them soon anyway.

Is there some logic here that I am missing?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seasonal [and other] observations

Now comes the season of the woolly bear migration. Or, rather, The Great Woolly Bear Dispersal, since they are all crossing the roads, but about equally in opposite directions. Just now coming back over the hill from the supermarket at thirty miles per hour, I watched carefully not too far in front of my car for small moving things and swerved this way and that way so as to avoid squashing any of the little guys. At one point I was faced with a Sophie's Choice -- one caterpillar heading east, the other heading west, and in such proximity to each other that if I saved one, I would obliterate the other. The only thing I could do: I stopped the car until they were out of my path. I'm glad there was no one driving behind me. I have seen bumper stickers that say, "I brake for fill in the blank" but none of them say "...woolly bear caterpillars." If there is one, I should avail myself of it.

I have stopped picking tomatoes. I feel a little guilty about that, but I can pick no more. Husband has noticed the abundance of red globes remaining in the garden, and has brought in his own piles of the things. 

He is making fresh tomato juice, a monumentally delectable item that I have never tasted before. It involves the food mill, and lots of patience. Too much fiddling for me; I just want to get to my book. But he doesn't mind, and I am glad to do the Wifely Praise part of the operation. The Wife Rule Book again, you know.

The soapstone stove's installed and operational. Notice, please, that we ordered it in brown metal rather than black. My choice because the brown is just about the same color as the ash and dust that will inevitably accumulate on the thing. Once it's rolling for the season, it will be too hot to dust or wash, so we might as well have it filth-colored to begin with.

Sweet Young Thing, my new morning boss, is still a refreshing change from Jane the Tyrant. I do find, howsomever, that she is one of those who get their talking points and marching orders from Rush, Sean, and Glen. 
"...all those people who are making us the minority!"
"The only reason Obama got elected was that he got all the blacks and Puerto Ricans to vote."
I wanted to say, "HOW DARE THEY!" but I did not.
I foresee June keeping her mouth shut in the area of political discussion. Friday morning I came about as close to getting into it as I hope ever to do. New Boss was lamenting the abundance of other-than-Caucasian students at the local college. She went on with such . . . vigor . . . about other cultures ruining "ours" that I finally asked, in a mild and curious tone, "I wonder why our culture can't withstand that influence?"
A pause, and then: "I don't know."
"Well," I said, "maybe it'll make you feel a little better to know that four of them were just murdered in Guilderland."
"Oh! That! That was terrible! There were children!"
I have yet to nail down the age at which but what about the children! cuts off and veers into . . . distaste, or how long people have to be in this country before they're acceptable.
Okay. Enough of that incendiary writing. Back to the safely prosaic.

Molly had fresh rabbit for breakfast this morning, and eschewed her kibble as a result. It's good she doesn't want to overeat. She took the bunny leftovers to the garden and hid them. Husband walked down to see if he could see how much was left. I watched the two of them from the upstairs bedroom window and saw Molly pretending the hiding place didn't exist ("Let's go down this way, Dad!") and Husband looking, looking, as Molly stood by, her tail wagging feebly, apparently hoping he would not find and steal her cache. He did not find any evidence of bunny remains and the two of them returned to the lawn with one of them vastly relieved.