We’ve discovered a new walk near the crookedshore, cj and I – inland a little this time, but pleasantly secluded and so quiet it’s almost edenic. This morning, as the sun finally won out over the clouds we watched Tobey scare up a pheasant or two, and as our eyes adjusted to the gloom of the dense forest we noticed dozens of them, all eyeing us warily. The dog resurrected some deeply buried instinct and emitted a deep down growl whilst all the time looking to us for direction on what to do next.
In the meantime the birds flapped frantically into the nearby cornfield and only betrayed their presence by the movement of the long golden stems of wheat.
All along the narrow track round the lake we danced a do-si-do with electric blue dragon flies and watched the bees burrow into flowers for the last pollen of the season.
We experimented with bankside launch positions from which the dog could retrieve his stick which cj had thrown into the unruffled waters of the lake. From our high point on the bank we looked down on him as he swam to shore, the bow wave created by his chest announcing his arrival to the shore. In his mouth was the stick we had thrown which he carried sometimes like W C Fields mouthing a cigar. When he emerged out of the lake, water streaming from his belly, his tail described a figure of eight and punctuated the air with full stops of water.
After rescuing a fisherman’s jammy piece from disappearing down the throat of the dog we got to talking about the day and the quiet and the future of the lake. He said that on a Sunday when all the dog owners arrived the place was like Crufts and the car park was full. And we laughed, just he and I, with the boy and the dog. Then, as we spoke, he brought in a catch which had swallowed the fly. He wrestled the line from it’s mouth but couldn’t extract the hook. He’ll work it out himself, said the angler.
After throwing the fish back into the lake he explained how, in shock, the fish would float belly up for a few moments. I watched his concern grow as he tried again and again to get his line under the fish to flip it over. Then, suddenly, almost as if it could feel the tickle of the line along his back, the fish flicked his tail and disappeared into the depths. I swear the angler breathed a sigh of relief.
On the way back to the car, Tobey tried to introduce himself to the swans in their natural environment. Fearing for his safety if the swans took umbrage to his invasion, I let out a sharp shout, shattering the silence of that place and the recalcitrant dog flicked a tail and turned back to us.
We left, refreshed again and reminded of the tranquility of God’s good creation and the sustaining value of father/son connections.