Wednesday, August 17, 2005


After a summer of hot, HOT dry weather, I celebrated Monday's rain by running in Milll Creek Canyon with Arnie and Red, my boyfriend's Red Heeler. Red is the anti-Arnie. Short and tough with a barrell-chest and big, alert ears, Red is the fun police.

Arnie runs ahead of me, all legs and lank, nose in the air, shifting from Retriever snifs to Golden silliness in an instant. He prances and lopes into puddles, stops short if something catches his eye, then charges ahead again. Red stays behind, running at my heels in his businesslike trot, looking up at me from time to time.

With the heavy rain, Mill Creek was all but empty. A few trail workers were out building a retaining wall, and the odd shapes their ponchos took on in the wind confused Red, who stopped and growled, his hackles high and ears low. Arnie galloped right up to them, wagging his tail as if he'd known them for years.

I ran past, breathing in the sweetgrass, then sage that lined the trail. Summer was so hot and still - no wind or rain - that it seemed like these smells were coming out for the first time in months, the water washing the layers of dust that had kept them gray and limp and half dead. On the way back down, I stopped and picked some of each to add to the vase of dasies on my kitchen table. Red looked at me disapprovingly, as if to say, "why not leave them here for others to enjoy?" Arnie first sniffed, then tried to eat the small bouquet out of my hand. Some days I'm Red - businesslike and serious, expecting everyone in the world to subscribe to my moral considerations. Other days, like today, I'm Arnie - all play and getupandgo, knowing that sometimes the only way to experience life to its fullest it to taste it firsthand.