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The Dog that Threw Chickens
Ode 2/10/20
© 2020 James LaFond
For five weeks the Colonel and his wife hosted this retrofitting crackpot at their home in the foothills of the Cascades. I have rarely been treated with so much practical grace. I managed to make myself useful so as not to feel like a sponge, especially since I wasn’t really permitted to pay for anything. I was not just the guest of the Colonel and his Wife, but of the neighbors as well, a handful of self-sufficient families on a private road. J & J, a cute couple who like to play cards, leant their camper for me to live in in the Colonel’s yard.
The fact of being openly invited to their small community church and having connected with so many of the congregation leant an almost unreal air of belonging, something I have never felt in my life before.
I wished my health would have been better so I could have fully realized my desire to go find a “mother tree” in the graveyard of old growth giants in the mountains above the house. But 4 miles in was the furthest I could make it.
I shared the majority of my time with the two coolest canines I have ever met, sister and brother. They would sit outside the trailer door in the rain, in the horseshoe pit, even in the snow, and just look for me to emerge, always innocently assuming that this overactive ape was going into the mountains for a rain-sodden hike.
Izzy is about a hundred pounds, looking more German Shepherd than Border Collie. She walked by my hip the entire time, actually kept me from getting lost in 18 inches of snow up in the timber one day, and soldiers on with a grim consistency. She began walking me to the trailer at night and then barking out into the dark and charging it, as if declaring I was her pet human. She would then sleep under the trailer, right under me.
Her goof-ball brother, Amos looking like a monstrous sled dog with a bad hair event, loves chasing larger animals and flushed out numerous black tail deer for me to see, as close as 10-paces away. He is the gentle one though—I dreamed of them last night, waking me up by rocking the trailer [which they only did when I was recording a podcast] and putting me into a Bigfoot Alien Abduction panic. In the dream they spoke English, but only when they were drunk, with Amos, in the lead, a gentle soul who gathers chicken eggs for his master and even tosses escaped chickens back over the fence without hurting them, smiling up at me with a teddy-bear-lion face and saying, “I knew you’d be back, Silver Back!”
Well, I believe that’s my first dream about drunk, beneficent dogs.
Thanks to my kind Christian friends in Cascadia.
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