Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autumn Comes

Last night I took Fenris and Cairo for a long walk. I hadn't done much of anything all week. I felt like one of those depression commercials where it says, "depression affects everyone" and shows these people lying around while their life goes to hell around them. One of the images is of a hopeful dog with a Ieash in its mouth. That damn dog gets me every time. If I wasn't depressed when the commercial started I'm crying by the time the dog shows up, and somewhere in this great land of ours a pharmaceutical rep and an ad man high five.

Anyway. So I had one of those weeks and decided since the dogs hadn't been out for a good blowout since Sunday off we'd go. I keep Fenris on a leash now as I cross the creek because the far bank is steep and nowadays it's hard for me to get up so he pulls me up the first section then I'm fine.

Oh, man, they BLEW through that field! Fenris galloped and galloped, with the little guy galumphing in his wake. They were so happy. Fenris would run a couple hundred yards out and back, or make giant looping circles. Once when he got far away I dropped to the ground so he wouldn't be able to see me and waited. Soon he came lollopping up the hill and passed me, heading back towards home. Then he crossed behind me about 20 yards off and as he did I saw him turn his head as he ran - the wind must've given him a hint of where I was, so he ran on a bit, head high and scenting, then changed direction and found me. Great rejoicing! I sat up and here comes little Cairo streaking straight towards me, because of course he had been far behind and could see me now that I was up.

More wandering through the fields, groundhogs diving into their dens, Fenris running up to the holes, schnoofing down inside then running on, Cairo falling into the holes in spectacular loose-jointed puppy tumbles since his eyes are always on Uncle Fen and he never sees the holes in the grass until he's fallen into them or else a foreleg drops in and he smacks his chin on the ground in classic I-missed-a-step fashion.

After we'd gone across the whole field we came to the dirt road behind the fire company and I put them on a leash in case we ran into anyone walking their dogs along the road. No one, thank goodness. I could hear athletic sounds coming across from the CD East fields and thought there might be a lacrosse game so I decided to walk around to check it out.

Alas, no lacrosse game but the fields were full: soccer and cheerleading practices, both junior high and middle-school football practice, and far off I could hear the intermittent thwack of metal baseball bats.

This will be good for the pup, I thought, and came down the hill to sit on the bleachers by football practice and watch for awhile. It was a lovely September evening, and it was fun to see all the kids in all the different activities having such a good time. At one point the middle school footballers were released to run over to another field. They had to pass the junior-high team, and all the little PAXTON PANTHERS ran, manfully hooting like the big men (on the junior-high squad) with their middle-school boys' voices. At this age the size and weight of their helmets still affects both their balance and their center of gravity. They looked like a set of bobble-head dolls happily sprung to life.

When they got to their new location the assistant coach who seemed to be a boy of high school age led them in a team cheer and playfully pushed them (they in full pads and he in only shorts and a cutoff sweatshirt) and he practically made the lot of them topple over. They gleefully pushed back and swarmed him as he shouted "C'mon! I'll take you ALL on!" and he disappeared in a sea of ecstatic bobbleheads.

There were a few runners jogging around the track that encircled all of this, and after a couple of nods as he went by, a man stopped to talk with me and ask if he could pet my dogs. We had a really nice time talking dogs. He's going to get a Labrador puppy and has taken a friend's lab home with him for a week to help him get into the routine. He's already signed up for dog training classes at SuperPetz and is taking the friend's dog. Sweet man. Said he'd always loved Shepherds and considered getting one but thought they were too high-energy. (This from the man who's getting a Labrador Retriever - must be why people make them get so fat. Nothing like a little cardiovascular disease to take the edge off).

By this time the sun had set in beautiful pink and golden cotton-candy clouds and so Fenris, Cairo, and I headed for home.

What a nice walk in the gloaming. By the time we climbed the last hill I was thinking maybe next time I should bring my little blinkie-light for Cairo's collar, as he's so black I couldn't see him at all unless he moved, and then he was merely the swiftest of the shadows. I wouldn't have seen even that if it wasn't for the moon.

It was too dark for me to see the break in the woods where the path goes down to the creek, but I knew Fenris would unfailingly find it, and he did.

We walked up Kay Street in the dark and came home. The dogs threw themselves down hard on the floor, panting with happiness (Cairo first doing the obligatory cat chase in the kitchen).

All is well.


Conor said...

This feels like the short story of my childhood. Everything is there! You, galumphing and capering creatures and critters (Fenris and Cairo, respectively, respectively), woods an fields and streams and bumbling, awkward baby athletes... utterly wonderful. I'm having a barely believably great time here, but stories like this make me miss home very much. Thank you.

Anne said...

Thank you.

I shall die a happy woman (but not anytime soon).

Conor said...

This is my favorite blog post in the world.