Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hunting Geese on an Autumn Day

I'm on my last Sunday evening before I start my new job. This is the last Sunday I'll have, I hope, where I remember that I have to go to work the next day and I feel that a grey cloud is settling over me.

I've had bad jobs before where I've been unhappy. This job is unusual in that I didn't realize how unhappy I've been until I decided to leave. It shouldn't have been hard to figure out. If I go back and read my blogs from the past two years, it's pretty obvious that I've felt trapped and discontented. It's just that it wasn't until I decided to make a change that I realized I've been unhappy with the way things have been.

I have no idea if my new job will make me happy but I have an inkling that it might. I'm excited to start the job. Ever since I decided to take it, I've felt a metaphorical weight being shifted off my shoulders.

It's made life fun again. It's made things seem more real, like I'm not stuck in my rut anymore. It's making me appreciate the world I have around me. This weekend, for example, it's been beautiful outside. I'm not sure if it's too early or not to declare it but it seems as though we're having an indian summer. The temperatures have been in the high 80's during the day but dropping down to a delicious crisp low at night.

I decided that the best way to appreciate such a gorgeous day was to take the pups for a long walk. We actually ended up having two of them. As is my habit on weekends, I've taken to letting the puppies play outside when they wake up at 7:30 a.m. and I go back to bed and doze until they've had enough frolicking outside and come inside to find me. This morning, however, I was awoken by a furious yipping from the girls. Last time one of them yipped like that, it turned out Sookie had escaped the yard and was squirrel hunting in the street. Thus, I got up with a start to see what the barking was about.

Well, it turned out that one of the pups' "friends" had come to visit. Our neighbourhood is full of dogs. As we go for our evening walks, there are several dogs who always come to their fence to exchange a friendly bark with the puppies. I call these the girls' "friends." This particular 'friend' was a large, yellow mutt from down the street. I'm not sure if he'd escaped or his owner was walking him without a leash but by the time I was outside and dressed, the dog had gone. I was a little worried that he'd escaped and, putting myself in his owner's shoes, thought it might be a worry. So, I put the girls' harnesses and leashes on and we went for a walk in the neighbourhood.

We never did see the dog again but it was a nice day for an 8 a.m. walk. That time of day is interesting. There isn't much traffic on the roads, the squirrels are out in full force and the smell of bacon drifts out from a few houses.

Even though we had a walk first thing in the morning, I decided that we'd still go over to the woods for what is becoming a semi-regular Sunday walk. This week, I hoped that we wouldn't stumble upon a sponsored walk. All I have to do now is say, "Walk?" to the puppies and they go and sit by the front door, their tails wagging in anticipation. So, we headed to the park.

We got there by around 10 a.m. and it was still pretty quiet. There were quite a few joggers. There were one pair who were a little perplexing. They appeared to be communicating through bluetooth, even though they were not that far apart. When we pulled into the parking lot, they were walking haphazardly around the picnic benches in the parking area. Then, as we began to walk along the trail, they crossed our path again. This time, they were about 20 feet apart, still communicating via bluetooth and walking the opposite direction from us. I know they were communicating with each other because it was like they were having a conversation...only they were 20 feet apart. It was peculiar. What was more annoying is that the male was making really unpleasant comments about "The amount of damn dogs on the trail," and, as he passed us, he gave the puppies a rather threatening look. This, obviously, did not make me happy. The trail is about ten feet wide. My dogs are small and they were happily trotting side by side far away from the man. While I can understand being annoyed at dogs if they're either not supposed to be there or they are actually bothering you by getting in your way, I didn't understand his animosity.

Still, we shrugged it off and kept going. It was an amazing day for a walk. Autumn is fully here now and the sheer grandeur of the colours of the leaves is seriously breathtaking. There are bright golds, reds, oranges and greens all blended together. It's just stunning to take them all in at once. We stopped a few times so that the pups could have a drink and rest for a minute. Then we got to our favourite area of our walk- it's the area where we go 'off trail' and run around in the leaves while the puppies get to sniff out their prey.

Today's prey didn't need to be sniffed out, it was pretty visible. There, where we normally spend some time while the puppies have some leisurely sniffing time was a flock of Canadian geese.

This may not seem like anything unusual but for Sookie, this was a dream come true. She's fascinated by the things. They often fly over our house, honking loudly. No matter what Sookie is doing, as soon as she hears that honk, she's looking upwards, trying to find it's source. For many months, I believe she has longed for her very own Canadian goose.

Thus, today, her dreams were almost realized. She and Rory, upon seeing the flock, got very excited and pulled their leashes taut, trying to move towards them. Knowing that geese can be mean, I held back for a while but then decided that it wouldn't hurt to let them go closer. If the geese pecked them, well, then, maybe they'd be less enthusiastic in the future.

We moved among the flock. Sookie was beside herself with excitement. She got close to one and flew away and landed gracefully in the small lake nearby. She got close to another and that one flew away. Each time she got close, the silly geese flew away.

Still, she didn't seem discouraged. Rory was very enthusiastic also. She'll jump into the thick of anything without a moment's hesitation. She joined her sister in attempted to herd the geese into a corner so that they could pounce. Unfortunately, neither pup can fly and so after a while, they were discouraged.

I finally pulled them away and distracted them by leading them to a large pile of leaves. They promptly dove into the leaves and happily forgot the geese. We walked on. We came to the area where we can either go home or loop back around the lake again. I wasn't sure how tired the pups were so I let them lead me where they wanted to go which turned out to be looping around the lake.

This of course put us right back into the thicket of geese. It was once more into the breach, we went. Once more into the breach.

Sookie joyfully tried once more to catch herself a goose. Rory also gave it her best effort. Neither pup had yet learned to fly and they were thusly thwarted in their attempts to catch a goose.

I pulled them away. We moved beyond the geese back to the grass that would lead to the car. Sookie and Rory promptly sat down, clearly exhausted. My attempts to tire them out so they would sleep had worked. They were just working a little too soon.

I ended up plopping down on the ground so they could rest for ten minutes. At the distank honk from the geese, Sookie had an energy burst but as soon as I attempted to use that burst to my advantage and walk them to the car, she promptly laid down again.

Finally, they had the energy to walk and we made it back to the car. Their energy burst returned as soon as we got home and they spent much of the afternoon running around the garden. This means that they'll probably climb up on the couch this evening and won't move until bedtime and they won't stir again until morning.

It was a beautiful day for a walk/geese chasing. I feel like I got to appreciate nature with a fresh pair of eyes. With my freedom from my current job approaching and the hope of fresh possibility at my new job looming brightly, I think I'm finally shaking off the cobwebs of frustration. It's a beautiful world of autumn out there and it's nice to it share with with two puppies, a flock of geese and the other intrepid walkers we passed on our morning jaunt.

I'm just glad they didn't catch their goose.

Happy Monday!

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