Celebrated the end of deer-hunting season by taking the dogs out for a walk in the woods behind the house today.
Over the last couple of days the weather has changed wildly, from frosty and snow-covered to a tropical 50F in which all the snow melted, then back today to frigid and a fresh three inches of snow on the ground. I knew that Bisou would get ice balls all over her coat if I took her to the woods, but I also knew that she would have a nervous breakdown if I left her behind, so I let her come along with Wolfie and Lexi.
The woods looked properly Frostian, dark and deep and full of snow. There were no animal tracks on the ground–no rabbits, squirrels or turkeys. The deer that survived the hunting were hunkering deep in their winter yards.
Old arthritic Lexi, whom I\’ve always suspected of having Husky blood, and who was feeling the effects of her recent acupuncture session, trotted along looking spry. Wolfie looked like a black paper silhouette pasted on all the whiteness. Bisou barreled along up to her shoulders in snow, oblivious to the ice balls forming on her coat. Every once in a while, to ensure that they didn\’t forget me, I would call the dogs and give them each a slice of string cheese, then let them take off again.
Being in the woods, just a hundred yards from my back door, is like being on a different planet. Around the house, even in the dead of winter, there is always noise–hens cackling or pecking at the floor of the shed, chickadees chirping and fluttering around the feeder, the clothes dryer humming inside. But in the snow-filled woods, the silence is about as absolute as I\’m likely to experience in this lifetime.
Back inside the house, the Shepherds were dry in two seconds, but Bisou was another story. She was decorated like a Christmas tree, white balls hanging from every one of her long feathers. I brushed and shook off as many as I could, but the ones in her armpits had turned to solid ice.
I took her into the bathroom, closed the door, plugged in the diffuser and turned it on low. Nothing much gets to Bisou, not even the cleaning lady\’s super-powered vacuum cleaner, but she had never come in contact with hair-drying appliances before, and she hid behind the bath towels hanging from the rack.
I sat on the floor and periodically waved the diffuser in her direction. Eventually, she realized that this was a good thing, a vanquisher of ice balls, and came out from behind the towels.
When she was dry I went into my study and stretched out on the bed and Bisou hopped up and curled against me and I covered us both with our special dog-hair-covered fleece throw and we had a nap.