Autumn is here. Andie and I watched the Red Moon Eclipse through the large window facing the garden. It is open most of the year, especially on warm evenings. Only late blooming Morning Glories, a straggler Rose and Oleander present any evidence that Summer was even here, not so many weeks ago.
Unfortunately, Andie missed the moon drama. She’s early to bed and early to rise. She did catch a bit of NATURE, which was on PBS and woke fascinated when some documentary wolves were howling. I’ve finally had to make a big sleep pad for her on the bed out of an old family wool blanket, because she was developing a habit of selecting a spot in the direct center of the bed, making it impossible to squeeze my large self into a comfortable space to sleep. The new sleep blanket sits right next to me on the bed, but ultimately, by some mysterious dog ritual, she manages to somehow roll off it and wedge herself between me and it. I stay awake much later than Andie and marvel at her in these choreographic stratagems she manages with such natural grace . When she finally rolls herself into a sleeping ball she’s not much bigger than a loaf of bread and my heart is filled with such fullness at the sight…..sometimes it feels like Spring in Autumn when Andie’s around.
The air tells a better story. It’s getting cooler, especially in the evenings. The Catalpa Bodhi tree sheds its beautiful leaves, now bright yellow, in bunches of broken hearts that lie over the garden paths and atop the pond. The transition into Autumn is probably one of my favorite times of year. To me it is like a piece of music by Sate; the colors of orange, maroon, brown, red and yellow are complex and beautiful in their end. It is a mood of perception the Japanese call mono no aware—-both the beauty and melancholy of transience.
There is not a whole lot of time to contemplate the melancholy aspects of aware with Andie around. She has full roam of the garden and seldom ranges too far from me when we are there together. She’s not in the escape mood out there, or ever, as far as I can see and so I leave the backdoor ajar for her to come and go as she wishes……for the most part. She concentrates on hunting. I suspect that living in our very liberal, progressive town has induced a raw foods vegetarian ideology on her otherwise doggy carnivore nature.
Well, mostly progressive, the neighbors on the corner are Tea Party folks, who have given the cottage and me major fish-eye, ever since I put up that sign that read in big bold letters: OCCUPY First Street. The old Cadi got egged once after that. But, passive aggressive is the major indication that time may heal all differences. Once I started putting the flag up every holiday, happiness reigned in the valley. Once Andie arrived and made friends of said family’s sweet black lab all tensions ceased. Even more amazing, the other day Mr. TP stopped his mega truck leaned out and said ‘howdy’ to little Andie as she pooped in front of his house. That was a miracle. It was the first time he acknowledged me in six years. Now it’s “Hi Bud, how’s it hang’un?” Did I mention, that we neighbors call that house Truck Mart?
I have always thought that folks who love animals are OK and down the street is no exception. Their dogs are as sweet and friendly as can be. What connects the best in people of all stripes is love of their animals and dogs are especially suited to detente. So, once again I have to think that a little dog called Andie is the ultimate ambassador of love and peace. Maybe she’s a born again Hippy!
Thinking of Truck Mart and gun racks, brings me back to Andie hunting. Several months ago when Andie first arrived she discovered the dried-up wild plums that littered the parameters of the garden and ‘snarffed’ them up as a manic collector might. They usually ended up in her floor bed along with a few of her toys. This storage collection changes with the seasons and ranking of toys. Squeak bug and squeak dog are her favorites. I suspect that is so because they are small, make noise and fit comfortably in her small mouth.
It is our morning game to play with the toys and she likes it when both squeakers are going off at the same time. She will grab one and run furiously down the hall and back and then into the study and back. Great fun for both of us. She has decided that the tug rope and balls remain near my desk in case she wants to play soccer.
But, I digress—-hunting. Trying to get Andie to be more discriminating in her collecting is not easy. We still walk to the Church yard, because it’s close to the house, but it’s collection of cigi butts, gum and other temptations is formidable. Training is working though and some progress is being made. More exciting however is the change of Autumnal subject matter. Andie has discovered the old Gravenstein apple tree is dropping its fruit. She can even detect the sound of them dropping and ask to go out, or just goes out. If she wants me to come along she comes into the study and jumps up to get my attention and so we go. The other day I found five small apples in her storage bed and decided to have a little talk about hording. I explained in a very serious voice that we were not the sort of people who do reality shows.
Andie is also a sneaker, a little Ninja Cocker. The other day a neighbor stopped by and dropped off a box of beautiful organic produce. On the top of the box was a pint of the most delicious strawberries imaginable. While we were talking Andie very stealthfully captured one strawberry at a time and lined them up in a row along with a few of her toys, like a conga line down the long hallway. My neighbor just stood there amazed and I of course just had to say: “I think she’s a genius.”
And so it goes, another week with an amazing force of nature and loving a little dog named Andie.