February 23, 2013
* WAVING ARMS AND EARS *
The lady waved as she passed, her smile such that any toothpaste
producer would love to have pasted on their billboards.
Jane and I skied up a forest road on a groomed snowmobile track.
There was enough snow, but barely. The lady passed us driving a
small model Subaru sedan. Her dog galloped along behind with a
silly grin on his face, waving his ears as gaily as his mistress
waved her hands.
The dog appeared to be a Labrador/German shepherd mix, with
ample dosages of beagle, airedale, Chihuahua, and wiener dog in the
potpourri. The flopping ears, except for being black, could've
been grafted from a basset hound. The mutt was long, tall, small
faced, big eared and carefree happy.
We caught up with 'em a little later. It was at a spot where
the driver had backed into a side road before heading back to the
main road and home. The dog's mistress stood outside the Subaru
throwing her canine buddy treats for which he bounced all over two
counties in sheer dog-world enthusiasm.
Both mutt and mistress flashed their patented toothy grins as we
skied past, waving arms and ears in an infectious happy-to-be-alive
greeting that we decided was more likely shared evenly with everybody.
Later, while laboring up the mountain, we discussed the pair. Jane said, "The lady was certainly cheerful, wasn't she?"
"But she looked like she could benefit by doing a little roadwork, too."
I laughed. "And let the dog drive? Right."
It's another year and we were back skiing on the same groomed snowmobile track. Again, there was only barely enough
snow. Though we didn't see lady, dog, or Subaru, there was a set
of going-and-coming auto tracks, with going-and-coming outsized dog
prints running along behind.
We guessed it was the same lady and the same dog. She obviously
takes the mutt for periodic runs. During light snow years she
probably takes him away from beaten paths to keep him from being
eaten by oncoming automobiles.
He's a lucky mongrel--all that fresh air and regular exercise. She's lucky, too, because she has an interest that takes her out of
the house and into the woods.
After meditating on the pair as we toiled up the mountain, then
glided back down, I told Jane we were lucky, too.
"We're out here skiing, not only because it's physically good for us and might help us live a little longer, but because it takes
us away from the office and computer and ringing telephones."
"Besides that," she said, "we flushed a grouse and spotted a snowshoe rabbit."
I breathed deeply. "Smell that. Smell the cedars and the pines and the tamaracks. The lady and her dog smells that, too."
Almost as if we had the same thought, we paused side by side and
stared into each other's eyes. Our lips brushed. Then we poled
alongside the other, following the groomed trail as it crossed the
interminable flat, back to our car.
Next week? Another walk on the wild side.
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ROLAND'S Campfire Culture blog