Friday, September 6, 2013

VftSW: Derby and the Rubáiyát

“Wow!” look at the mountain I shouted to my wife, while indicating Mt Kupreanof standing over her shoulder.  In the sharp morning light of a cloudless September morning you could see the fall colors of the alders hidden in the Sitka Spruce covered slopes.  Here and there a white tree stuck out.  I thought frost at first, but there was no snow line at the head of the mountain. 

That’s when Derby ran off!  As I stood there in awe of the aged mountain, her leash slipped from my hand.  I thought she would run excitedly to my wife, but my Black Labrador got distracted, veered off course and then turned to give me the “look”.  The “Chase me!” look.  I also know the look of heartbreak and disappointment when I don’t chase.  So I gave chase until she stepped out of sight into the tall grass.  But you can only chase so far through the muskeg and “strip of herbage strewn, that just divides the wilderness from the sown,” when you are wearing flip-flops.  So, I loudly departed.  When I caught up with my wife, she wisely suggested I take her dog Hilde and make mine jealous.  Derby follows the same route every time she “runs away”; front door of the neighbors kitty-corner behind us, visit the dog three house up from there across the street, cut through the neighbor’s yard behind us, play in the pond, jump up on the deck and peer in the windows and then go out front and look for me.  We hadn’t reached the first stop on Derby’s route when she popped out of the bushes and I snagged her leash. 

We all returned home and I got ready for work.  Stepping out the door of the house into the garage, I found Derby panting heavily and rocking excitedly.  She was all set to spend the day outside in the backyard, reveling in the sunshine and memories of this morning’s adventures.

As I stepped into the road, ahead of me a cottonwood caught my eye.  Its crown shown more than the rest of the tree.  Behind it stood Mt. Kupreanof again, those silver spruces still shining near its crown.  In fact they were recently deceased spruces; needles gone but gray branches and twigs still intact.  It occurred to me that they were like gray hairs.

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