Never thought I\’d say this, but Hallelujah! it was cool and cloudy in Vermont today. It rained just enough last night to keep the final phase of the Vermont-to-Arizona conversion from taking place.
To celebrate, this evening I took the dogs for a walk in the woods. Wolfie thundered ahead, followed by a close-to-the-ground red projectile: Bisou. Lexi, who in former years was the first to disappear from view, now keeps close to me. On these outings I carry a treat bag full of mozzarella chunks as insurance against disobedience and disappearance. Periodically, I call the dogs and give each of them a piece of cheese when they come to me. Lexi is always there first.
Entering the woods this evening was like diving into green water–dreamy and silent except for the waving and rustling of the trees. The ground is covered in reddish-brown leaves, the result of the drought. Against this background, it is getting harder to see Bisou. By October, she will blend perfectly into the reddish-orange leaf fall.
Unfortunately, by October we won\’t be able to walk in the woods. In one of the most beautiful times of the year, the dogs and I will be confined to the yard, for fear of hunters. It\’s not that I\’m against hunting. In fact, I would like nothing better than to get our protein from wild sources. But I don\’t hunt, and neither does my husband, and the idea of people with guns tromping through our woods alarms me.
Hunting is a long-standing tradition in Vermont, and locals bemoan the proliferation of \”Posted\” signs over former hunting grounds. These signs are put up by flatlanders like us, not born to a hunting tradition and reluctant to put our pets and ourselves in jeopardy to maintain it.
Last spring, as we were laying out the trail in the woods, we found an alarming number of spent cartridges on the ground. Soon we\’ll have to go to the hardware store and buy a couple dozen yellow \”Posted\” signs. Then we\’ll take one last hike through the yellowing woods, and staple the signs on our trees, and hope they work.