10/28/2014

The woods through their eyes ... and noses, and ears, and pads, and tongues.


My dogs are always exhausted at this time of year. 

 It's their absolute favorite time of year ... 
except for first snow, they love running/rolling around in that
oh, and when the ice goes out, so they can swim like polar bears, they love that
oh, and summer, when my parents come up and spoil them with treats, they love that

This time of year is a treat due to the sensual smörgåsbord our woods become to them, 
I try to leave my human self behind, in the house, and walk the woods the way they do.

The smells of fallen leaves rotting,
mostly maple and beech and birch in our woods,
sour and rich and musky.

Poplar leaves drop last of all,
after maple and birch and beech trees shed their leaves to dry and crumble,
the poplars seem oily (maybe waterproof, even) and slip/slide a bit under my feet,
while the other leaves just feel slightly spongy underfoot, doing their 'dust to dust' thing.

The tamaracks are narrow pillars of fire this week,
soon they'll drop their needles into the salad on the forest floor.
(everyone says dogs see in B&W,
but lacking direct evidence, I don't believe ...
Puck and Miles won't say)

The woods sound different as the seasons shift, and beasts prepare for the coming cold,
there's a businesslike feel, a sense of purpose missing during the indolent summer months;
the naked trees also clear out the woods, making it easier to hear over distance,
and crispy/crunchy leaves betray movement beyond our sight.

 Dog tongues fall or leak or leap slip out of their mouths for any, or no, reason,
lapping the air, a puddle, a mossy rock, dripping leaves/needles, me, and each other;
I sample drops on the end of leaves, rich green moss, a clean looking puddle
(wondering if the clean puddle is an oxymoron ... if I am a garden-variety moron)
with a fingertip to my tongue, perhaps to keep some distance from the dogs' world.
(it all tastes like finger with a hint of dirty water to me ... must be more to them)

 I love walking with my boys in the cold and wet woods,
sharing their excitement for the season and the onslaught of new sensations;
they love walking with me in the cold and wet woods,
explaining the things I miss to me and each other ...
and because I'm Dad (and they love me).

These walks, perhaps most at this time of year,
give me a glimpse into the corners of our world I don't know about,
can't know about,
owing to my particular limitations;
these weeks (and walks) in magical October make me want to be a dog ...
a Puck or a Miles or someone else, I can't say,
but I can feel the wanting, when I'm out there in the cold and wet woods...

1 comment:

Marsha Roy said...

Thank you for sharing this poem - makes me a bit more aware of the wonder my dogs see as we walk throughout the woods - even makes me a bit jealous of the nature, of the wonder that they see every time they venture outside. So - thanks - and keep on writing - but mostly sharing - with us!

Marsha