Idyll: a simple descriptive work in poetry or prose that deals with rustic life or pastoral scenes or suggests a mood of peace and contentment… I experienced this state of nature this morning while walking Rudy and Gretchen. It was about 9:00 AM, and we were in a part of the campground that yesterday was filled with a group camp, four tents and fifteen or twenty adults, kids and dogs, but which now was devoid of humans (except myself). Rudy wanted to lie down in the sun, so we all plopped down. Within a few minutes, by being very silent, we were “part of the scenery”, in a manner of speaking. Two or three robins dropped in, searching for insects or worms in the lush grass. A dozen honeybees were working the various sources of pollen. Two red-wing blackbirds sitting on a fence flew among the cattails in the marsh bordering the big group campsite. A half-dozen coots were swimming in the lake, diving for plants. Several pairs of mosquito hawks (dragonflies) were flitting around collecting insects for breakfast. A lone osprey (Pandion haliaetus)was circling about 200 feet above us, looking for crappie or small trout in the shallows. (I had seen her nest on a power pole while kayaking, and when I approached, she made it clear that I should keep my distance.) The osprey is also called the fish hawk, because its diet consists almost exclusively of fish. (My Good Friend Bob is probably saying, “Ty, with your fishing skills, you might not survive long as an osprey.”) He is such a card.
Higher in the sky, bands of thin cirrus clouds with their characteristic wispy tails were marching eastward, foreshadowing a cooler change in the weather. We spent about 30 minutes just lying there. I would scratch the puppies’ bellies or behind their ears, and they seemed very happy just to “veg” for awhile. Every now and then one would give me a sloppy kiss or nuzzle me. It was one of the simplest, and most enjoyable, half hours I have ever experienced.
On Friday evening, I was invited to a birthday party for someone I had never met. In a previous blog, I mentioned campground neighbors Trudy and Rich, grandparents to two beautiful young girls, Delaney and Kali, who showered little Gretchen with affection in The Coach. Their mom, Vesta, had downloaded Messages of Hope and read it within 24 hours; she then invited me to her husband Larry’s birthday party. I drove to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to a very nice Italian restaurant, Tony’s on the Lake, where I met Larry, who is an electrical engineer and commanding officer of an Air Force Reserve Intelligence squadron. It was a delightful evening and a delicious dinner, with prosciutto and calamari appetizers and superb hazelnut-encrusted steelhead trout over brown wild rice. But even better than the food, I was particularly impressed with the strong family values and gracious hospitality that one finds more often in smaller communities like Coeur d’Alene and Spokane than in big metropolitan areas. I could live here. I think Suzanne and I will be spending more time here next summer… (I fell very bad about not having photos from this party, but I had removed the memory card from my compact camera and forgotten to replace it when I left The Coach; I took a dozen photos, but when you don’t have a card in the camera, you are “outta luck”… bummer.)
While I was out partying, My Lovely Bride was completing her week’s visit with Her Lovely Mom Ruthie, taking care of business (see photo of paperwork she had to wade through), giving readings, and conducting a Sanaya channeling session. (She also completed her aforementioned prettifying tasks: mani/pedi-cure, hair salon visit, massage, etc.) With the jet lag/time zone difference and concomitant lack of sleep, I think she will need a few days rest back in The Coach before she’s back to 100%.
Our little Rudy woke me up yesterday morning around 0430… like, “oh-dark-thirty”… at first I thought he simply had to go pee, as old coots and dogs sometimes have to do. The air conditioner had been running on low, so I hadn’t heard any sounds outside, but I think he had. As I clipped the dogs into their leads and stepped outside, I could distinctly hear the calls of a pack of coyotes (Canis latrans, or “barking dog”) no more than 100 yards away. It is a bit chilling when you are still groggy and are standing in a dark area unable to see what’s lurking in the bushes. There have been about 200 documented attacks on humans by coyotes, mostly in Southern California where hunting is uncommon. Coyotes often hunt in packs of 4-6 adults or juveniles, and livestock (particularly sheep and deer) and domestic pets (cats and smaller breeds of dogs) are their principal prey. I always carry a folding knife in my pocket in case we (Rudy and Gretchen in particular) are attacked, either by coyotes or other dogs.
The pups have been enjoying this interlude in Spokane, because we’ve had almost daily visits to Fairchild AFB where there are several lush, heavily treed lawns around the chapel and the housing office. Here are Rudy and Gretchen trying to figure out what variety of squirrel/chipmunk/gopher population they’re dealing with today. We go to the base to avoid the goose poop minefield in much of our campground. If I were in charge, I would have an aggressive, mechanical barking dog on tracks moving back and forth where the goose land to scare them off. But this is a kinder, gentler military than I grew up in… I guess they’ve learned to put up with a lot more poop than I am comfortable with.