Sneaked (well, hardly) out with Bear yesterday in the early afternoon. She has come to understand wind = a walk. In summer, yes. The rest of the year? We are liberated from this imperative. Any time is a good time to get out there. We’re like postal carriers, neither rain, nor hail, nor sleet, nor snow — we LIKE all that.
In the grand design of things, this is the quiet season, quiet and determined. I can feel it when I’m out there. Few cars wend their way around the loop. This moment is the early transition between summer animals and winter animals. Soon the winter birds will return — cranes and geese — to stay a couple of weeks or a month or two. With them the Subarus, the long lenses, the out-of-state plates.
But the ungulates are coming down from the high country.
Bear was enchanted the moment she was out of the car. So many smells that, I could see from her reaction, weren’t the same old. It’s a way dogs have of knowing if there’s a new threat in their world which is one reason walking a dog is important. It’s part of who they are.
As we wandered along our way, I saw the visible part of the story. Elk tracks on the road. Another sign that it is the quiet time of year. Bear loves (I don’t know really how she feels; I’m judging from her behavior) elk piss and elk scent and all things elk. I understood her excitement. Since I saw a big herd out there last weekend, I wasn’t surprised.
Later, I saw more of the story. Something had chased this elk. I couldn’t tell what, but I could tell that the elk got away.
I can’t say our brief jaunt was a transcendental experience; it was a walk. It was hot and breezy. We enjoyed it, but we both wished I’d brought water. The way I see it — and, of course, the way my dogs see it — it’s important not to miss an opportunity to go out. Shortly after we turned back toward Bella I found a red tail hawk feather tail feather, tired looking, and bedraggled. I picked it up and thought it was a fitting analogy for the world — my world — this time of year, and for me. “I kept flying, but…”
The Chamisa is doing its autumn thing. Here are all the life stages on one extremely intelligent plant. “I’ll put some seeds out now and then some more a little later and then the rest a little later. Something will have to work.”
I screamed at a garter snake — embarrassing myself in front of myself — but old habits die hard. “If snake then rattler,” doesn’t hold here though the possibility exists. Bear reacted to my scream, and I had to pull her back. It was a smart garter snake, larger than I’ve seen which is probably what startled me.
A gust of wind roared through the small line of cottonwoods, wind from the south. They bent and thrashed, their still green leaves holding on for dear life. My bean plants are weighed down by long bean pods, and I harvest a couple of them every day. A couple of tomatoes are actually ripening. Frost has usually hit us by now, but it seems we’re getting grace this year. I feel right now the same as nature seems to feel about the passing summer, kind of “Well, THAT was interesting, but good God!!!!”
“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
I hope that describes me. 💚🐾 It certainly describes every dog I’ve ever had the privilege to live with.