Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring is finally spranging

Here in Missouri it's been an awful winter. Or maybe I'm getting old. Or maybe both. First we had a record 18" of snow two days before our club's agility trial the first weekend of December. When we never have snow. Honest. And yes, for you Northerners I know that sounds like nuthin'. But if you realize the great city of Columbia, with over 250,000 miles of road, has a total of 13 plows, 2 of which were out of commission--well, it was a mess. Then the rest of December was freaky-warm, which we should have known was nature laughing at us as she got ready to lower the hammer. Started snowing in January and we still had snow on the ground just a couple of weeks ago. In fact we got 2" last Saturday.

But the trees and birds are saying it's time to be spring DAMMIT and sure enough, here it comes. Last night Zipper and I both levitated about a foot out of bed with a huge BOOM of thunder. The first spring storms are starting to roll through.

Tonight it was time for Bradford. What's Bradford you say? Oh, about 400 acres of open cropland and field. Drive down the farm road, lift the van gate, unlatch the crates, and two Dobermans explode out, hitting the ground at a dead run, then curvetting to bark, growl, wrestle. One Min Pin is screeching from the side door--let me out! let me out! Open his crate and he arcs straight out, a dark red blur in full cry.

Cala takes the lead in a big, full speed circle. In her prime, she flattens and reaches, eating ground at a tremendous rate, a sleek, black, dangerous bullet. Her mother, nearing 10, comes behind, yalping her displeasure that she is no longer as fleet of foot as she used to be. Slow down! slow down! And in a high staccato, Zipper is double forte picatta; legs pumping so fast they blur, spine flexing.

Five minutes of chaos resolves into a sort of order. Cala scalloping back and forth, now a canter, now a full-out gallop, just because it feels good. Viva hunting corn cobs, Zipper weaving in counterpoint to Cala, ever on the alert for vole-holes. He has managed to seduce Cala to the lure of warm, furry rodent and it's a rare walk where they don't pause, she digging furiously, he alternately getting in her way, chasing her dirt clods, or mimicing her with his far less powerful feet.

Tonight is a good night for me--they didn't roll in anything dead! And a disappointing one for them--nothing dead to roll in! Zipper ranges far, but always comes to my call. It's the first night they've been hot since December, and I regret not having water with me, so we curve slowly back to the car. The fields roil with migrating shorebirds who flip into the strong wind and curl away in waves.

More storms moving in on the south wind's gale, this will be the last walk for a few days.

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