My first home with my Dad was on Central Road, in the town where my Dad grew up. This home was on the public golf course. The grass, shrubs, trees, ponds, fairways and greens were like our private estate. The land baron and his trusted Border collie patrolling, wandering and exploring. Early mornings, dusk and before-bed evenings were wondrous times of freedom and discovery for an off-leash Border collie. Yes, off-leash. OK, let me bring you up to speed on this concept of a leash…on-leash and off-leash. I’ve mentioned this earlier. My breed, BORDER COLLIE, has a reputation for intelligence, for paying attention, for knowing what to do – automatic, self-regulating, instinctive, unforced. Yes, it is pretty cool…and until a human experiences this aspect of my breed…sorry, I’m babbling. My Dad saw that I had this ability to respond quickly, well, let’s say immediately, to the slightest cues – a subtle whistle, a hand signal, perhaps just a look. I always like to be in the lead – first out the door, leading the way, on the lookout for danger, for grizzly bears, clearing the way.
Mid-September is a wondrous time of the year. The air is starting to transform, the sun is low, shadows are long. There is a cooling, a hint of change, of what is to come. The after dinner rounds of the estate, a mist, ethereal, above the damp grasses. The sun is below the trees, below the horizon, dusk approaches. I am in the lead. Every few moments I look back, check-in with my Dad, we make eye contact. A subtle whistle, “this way,” “wait.” I am paying attention – always. West for awhile, north for awhile, then a gradual course change to the east, along the edge of a fairway. Bunkers, bushes, thickets, hazards, all require an examination. We’re not alone, we’re being shadowed. A determined trot, silently approaching from behind, footsteps on our footsteps. My Dad notices my interest. “Wait.” Now facing west, I take a seat on a damp green. She approaches with caution but also with an obvious interest, a red fox. She is a bit timid, but there is no fear. She is interested in me. She approaches within an inch of my tail, to smell, to examine. I do not move. She has no fear of me, I have no fear of her. She lays down on the putting green and eye-to-eye, she rolls onto her back. A pink tummy. I thinks she’s trying to impress me, make friends. My Dad is watching this very unexpected meeting of the so-called wild with the so-called domesticated. While she is orange-red and I am mostly white with black, tan and gray markings, our alike-ness and similarities cannot be denied. Life is about moments like these.