Last evening we were porch-sitting. We glided noiselessly in our gliding chairs, the conversation lazy as we caught each other up on the news of the day. The air was heavy but not oppressive. Today's not supposed to be as pleasant.
Cosine was asleep on the doggie bed in the living room. Dudley was playing junior explorer as he made the rounds of the yard. He was spending quite a bit of time investigating the area of the yard formerly referred to as the wildlife refuge. Wendy mowed it Sunday and evidently revealed some interesting fresh scents.
I recognized The Posture and knew what he was about to do before he actually did it. His hind end rose and his front legs slid down, his nose aquiver. Sure enough, he started rubbing his long basset snout along the ground, slowly and deliberately. I shouted half-heartedly, "Dud! Stop that!" He just casually flopped his head and rubbed the other side of his face firmly in the dirt. Gotta love the obedient basset hound, oh yeah.
We used to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's down in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Not the "we" that makes up our "we" now, rather the "we" that made up my "we" then. Back then, I was single so "we" was Cosine, Detail and The Boy. Some friends owned a house on the beach. The same friends owned Cosine and Detail's mother, Kate, and their brother, T-Square. The week between Christmas and New Year's was all about hanging out at the beach with a houseful of dogs and friends. Ten years we all rang in the New Year together. Good times, good times.
(Yo, Meg-O, still with us?
Quiz at eleven.
Beach week had rituals attached, not the least of which were long walks on the beach. First thing each morning, before we'd had even a smoke or a cup of coffee, no matter what the weather, my friend Kerry and I would round up the dogs and head out to the sand. Neither one of us was a morning person so we wouldn't talk to each other, we'd just walk and absorb the morning.
The wonderful thing about visiting the Outer Banks in winter, back then anyway, was the lack of other people around. We could walk the beach, dogs off-leash, and not see another human being. Sometimes we'd pass another walker or a jogger, but they were few and far between.
Each of the four dogs had a different beach-walking style. Kate would romp in the surf, catching shells that she noisily demanded her mom toss up in the air. T-Square would get wet too, splashing in the shallow water, running wide circles around us. Detail did not like the crashing waves. He trotted along the dune line, joining us on the wet sand only occasionally and then but briefly.
Cosine stayed out of the water but on the wet sand. She ran way out ahead, but I never worried because with just a single sharp whistle, she'd turn around and race back to my side. Detail, on the other hand, would hear me whistle and start running a little faster forward. He so loved to be free.
We'd walk along until we mutually decided we'd gone far enough. By then my friend and I were more awake, perhaps even conversing a bit.
Cosine sprinted by as we changed direction and she resumed her lead. Every so often she'd pause to sniff at something or dig a little hole.
She was the one who taught me to recognize The Posture. The Posture that joyfully screams, "Score! I'm about to roll in something wonderful!"
It is not uncommon for all matter of dead and/or half-dead creatures and vegetation in various stages of decay to wash up on the beach. It could be a batch of seaweed, a fragrant shell, or a spot of sand that looked innocent but held something intriguing that Cosine decided she must, absolutely must, without any further delay, perfume herself with!
She'd assume The Posture, start rubbing her face, then ecstatically roll onto her back, wriggling frantically, joyfully, in some nirvana achieved only by dogs. While she was rolling in it, whatever "it" might be, my whistles mattered not. The rapture of the roll was her entire world.
I'll always believe it's those little things. Little things like a walk on the beach and a dead fish just waiting to be rolled on.
Oh yeah baby.
That's what it's all about.