2003-05-15 � walk on the wild side

Wee, the Wolf, and the Wrinklies

The wolf and I had us the most peril fraught, adventuresome walk we've had in ages and ages today. Okay... if i'm being completely honest and factual... and I always at least intend to be honest and factual, even if through some (ever so) slight stretching of the facts and details, I don't actually, you know, achieve said honesty or factuality... this all happened yesterday.

But just take a gander at how long this entry is!!! Entries of this length and...ahem... quality take time you know!


It started out normally enough, with the wolf leaping out of the car and pounding after the Pepsi Squirrel. The Pepsi Squirrel is a grey fat beastly thing with an unnatural fluffy tail and a jaunty little bottlecap hat who lives atop the Pepsi machine near the public restrooms.

Okay, okay... I haven't been close enough to the Pepsi Squirrel to know whether the part about the bottlecap hat is true or not and all that the Pepsi machine dispenses is pull tab cans, so admittedly, Pepsi would have to be one crafty squirrel to have fanagled himself a real live gen-you-wine honest to Betsy fabulously ridged bottle cap to perch atop his fuzzy grey flea-ridden head... but you've got to admit it makes the tale just that much more delightful so play along and don't be such a wet blanket.

Pepsi escaped as he always does and sat atop the whirring Pepsi machine taunting the wolf as she assumed that most familiar and humiliating of doggie postures, leaving behind neat little logs for me to scoop up, bag swiftly and deposit in the nearby garbage can. So far, so good. Then she went ripping across the field, rounding the old victorian farm house with the fearsome looking lightening rods and rotting gingerbread trim to the old cold storage shed where another mangy band of taunting squirrels likes to sit and jeer and hurl acorns at her.

And then we went trot trot trot down the path, through the gate and out on to the lane.

In the long grass, next to the duck pond with its graceful weeping willows and charming old windmill, we encounter the first great hazard. A pair of Canadian geese. Great honking mad, furiously flapping, feral and fearsome creatures that immediately charged the wolf and me, beating and hissing with necks outstretched, bloodlust and hatred burning bright in their beady little eyes as they rushed through the grass intent on plunking out our eyeballs and munching them like grapes, eye jelly oozing and spurting.

The wolf did a fancy little darting manoeuvre, skittering across the lane to the pig barn whilst i shrieked and hopped about brandishing her red nylon leash and maybe said some four-letter things before dashing madly after the wolf. We passed the pig barn and the peacock pen with no further incident and started down the Trillium Trail.

True to its name, the trail is smothering in trilliums, all graceful and nodding. Some blood red, some green striped, but the overwhelming majority pristine white. The trees have really started to leaf out in the past couple of days, creating a canopy of vivid chartreuse and there are tender ferns unfurling everywhere. It was a beautiful morning, the first sunny day in a while. Birds twittered sweetly, a butterfly flitted past. The wolf spotted another squirrel and went crashing blindly off the trail to the right, leaping gazelle-like over fallen trees and limbs, in hot hot pursuit. And then, almost as if in slow motion, she plunged her head right into the loop of some rope-like vine that was hanging from a tree.

She made a soft strangled sound and her body hung and swung for a moment and then she crashed to the ground behind a mass of green.

I gasped. My heart seized and stopped.

"My God! Finn!" I screamed, starting toward her, feeling as though my intestines had just been ripped out, blood pounding behind my eyes.

From behind the mass of green, my precious pup emerged, galloping toward me with a goofy, slightly sheepish grin and her tongue lolling long and pink to the side of her mouth, not a scratch on her. Patiently, she permitted me to hug and squeeze her, muttering crazy mommy talk and reassuring myself that she was okay, before she pounced on a nearby stick and trotted off down the trail, tail rotating in characteristic airplane propeller fashion.

We ambled round the Trillium Trail, scooted round the adjacent field and head down to Half Moon Valley which leads down to the creek that divides the park. By this time we were both a little warm. I had stripped off my jacket and the wolf was panting mightily. Normally, I avoid going down to the creek floor and instead roam the trails on the hill above, but the wolf was looking in dire need of a drink. So down the rustic stairs we went, to the edge of the creek.

The wolf plunged heedlessly into the water, biting at the water in her freaky alligator fashion, then submerging herself whole. Then she came bounding toward me, shaking like mad, showering me. We strolled up the banks of the creek, first one direction, then the other.

And then suddenly, the wolf took into her pointed little head to leap off the bank into the creek again.

She paddled around lazily for a minute or two then tried to climb out again. Tried being the operative word there. The bank was too steep and muddy for her to gain purchase. She whined nervously a bit and then she barked and I looked around frantically wondering how to haul her back up. I tried to grab her halter and drag her that way, like a big furry suitcase, but again, the bank was too steep and muddy and the wolf too heavy and there were these thick, pointy and protruding tree roots I was afraid of impaling her on. All I succeeded in doing is covering myself in mud and making the wolf ever more frantic.

I stood there, looking down at her about five feet below, thinking for a moment while she stared mournfully up at me, standing on her hind legs with her front paws planted against the slimy wall, wagging her tail cautiously like "You're gonna get me out of this mess, aren't you fearless humanoid? Aren't you? Say yes. Nod your head. that's it. Now think, goddamn it, think!"

Finally I realized that the bank eased down to the right some yards down and if i could just get her to swim around a pile of logs, she'd be able to climb up over there. so i scooted down the bank and called and coaxed. I swear i saw a little lightbulb suddenly blink over her head and flash enthusiastically and she leaped back into the water and easily skirted the logs. Once ashore, she firmly printed both my shoulders with muddy paw prints and deposited long goobery kisses upon my ears.

The rest of the walk produced little in the way of life threatening hazards, save for our encounter with a maurauding band of senior citizens led by a fearsome and wrinkly gent in... get this... a pith helmet, khaki walking shorts and green knee high socks. He had a pair of binoculars strung round his neck, an elephant gun over his shoulder and was wielding a walking stick he no doubt arm wrestled away from a pygmy on a wild safari sometime long, long ago. Obviously, the Marlon Perkins of the Viagra set.

The thing that struck me about the seniors' walking tour is just how frighteningly like white-haired and wizened preschoolers they looked. Madge, Elmer, Agnes, Edith and George... about fifty unfortunately named codgers out for a ferociously well organized morning constitutional, toddling down the path in pairs, decked out in gigantic sunglasses and floppy brimmed hats, enormous back packs slung over their bent, brittle backs, a bobbing sea of easter pastels and prints. They even wore those blank, wide-eyed expressions popular amongst the junior set and arrived en masse in a yellow school bus. Everything comes full circle, I guess.

There was one woman in particular who stood out. she seemed to be the trend setter in her fushia hued lipstick, face-swallowing Jackie O. sunglasses, sky blue, floral printed, tie-front quilted vest, matching hat replete with silk blossoms, and matching back pack. All the other ladies wore similar, if slightly less coordinated, get-ups.

It was frightening, people. Truly terrifying. But , you know, satisfying in that fodder-for-the- journal sense.

And thus concludes today's ever so long-winded and wordy entry. You may applaud politely now.

I don't know how many of you checked out the previous entry's That Girl link, but if you missed out on the "sound" gallery, go back. Listen to the That Girl theme... wouldn't it be fabulous to have your very own theme like that to be trumpeted over some kind of invisible P.A. system the moment you entered a room? I fantasize about just that kind of thing more than is probably healthy. Just so you know.

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