Sunday, October 4, 2009

From “Zlateh the Goat”

First seen hanging in College V "Old House" Room A447 (then hers; later mine; splendid chambers—never better, really) at this time 36 years ago; now handsomely framed on the walls of the Crumbling Manse™.

In praise of dogs

They ask for so little, really.

Late this morning, as I was attempting to get some things done—well let's be honest, I was thinking about attempting to get things done in those moments I wasn't devoting to reading the political blogs—the dogs were pestering me, which I rather resented. "C'mon!" they were saying (I here essay a rather simple and un-nuanced translation from dogspeak to idiomatic English) "C'mon! It's a beautiful autumn day!" (It was: warm in the sunlight, crisp in the shade. Gorgeous. The Bay Area typically partakes of the Goldilocks' Porridge of North American weather on any given day of the year about three hundred samples out of 365.) "Let's go, let's get out, let's do something!"

I reluctantly put aside my preparations to "get some things done" and drove to the nearby "Linda Dog Park" in Piedmont, a nearby enclave of privilege and distinct municipality surrounded by some of the better districts of Oakland (who are nevertheless forbidden the privileges of Piedmont's separate school district, a policy, living as I do across the street from an Oakland middle school, I cannot bring myself to deplore). There the three of us—elderly Napalm, going on seventeen, and two year-old Ravi—passed the early afternoon from noon to 2:30 as an assortment of dogs and people transited the park. Napalm doesn't ask much of these excursions anymore: a rich assortment of olfactory signals along the main trail provided ample information for his leisured evaluation. Two year-old Ravi had over the course of our hundred and fifty minutes half a dozen playmates, including a couple who helped drain his batteries in games of chase/flee/posture all around the park.

We left shortly before noon and returned here, sundry additional errands run, by 3:30. Napalm sleeps, but at his age that's what he generally does of a given hour. Ravi, who was earlier bouncing off the walls, also slumbers, his batteries discharged for the nonce, in the safety of his "crate." Left to my own devices I would likely not have ventured outdoors for this splendid autumn day. I'm glad that the dogs drew me out. The "things to be done" can be done another time.