"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Dog Named Clyde

Today was opening day for deer hunters. It rained all day, but the termperature dropped into the low thirties around 4pm, and the rain then turned to snow.

Hunting season is steeped in tradition in our area of the Thumb. Opening day on pheasants was especially memorable, because we would make friedcakes with our grandmother(recipe to come if I can find it), and it was exciting to have all those strange men tromping around in their boots and fur hats with their guns on their shoulders, signing in at the back door, exchanging stories and anecdotes, then coming back at the end of the hunt to report in and get a warm friedcake and a glass of milk.

We had several hunters today, city cousins who are still drawn to the farm at times like this. I am reminded of a visit to Scotland we took several years ago in the fall, tromping around the countryside and chancing upon a little pub and the hunters who were warming up by the fire with a pint.
This is an excerpt from my diary that day:

Nothing moves on the mountain
except water tumbling in mad want of the sea.
Silver ribbons of falling water
rolling green, falling, falling water.

We trudged along rushing rills
and found a pub sandwiched between.
The inside was warm and comfortable
The regulars talk up the hunt in coal smoke.

A tall, gray man enters with a dog
that looks just like him,
a massive poodle with long legs bred to hunt.
He walks his dog to the pub every day
(he tells us this), his name is Clyde,
and he is content to lie across the man’s boots
and follow us with his great liquid eyes.

Other fellas are over from Finland for the hunt.
Handsome and laughing, they tell us to stay here.
There is plenty of fun at night
and you can hear water falling all day.

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