Of Meadows, Mountains, Golden Light and Golden Dogs
I knew I should be creating lovely, educational blogs on dog training or canine massage, but my head was aching from way, way too much computer time and way too little earth time. I needed dog time, mountain time. I needed to smell trees and wind, and water. I needed to be in high places. So I took the dogs and ran away up to the mountains.
We didn’t go far, just up into Carr Cyn meadow in the Huachuca Mountains, here in Sierra Vista, Arizona. But it was enough. Carr Cyn meadow sits like a tipped bowl below the rocky palisade down which Carr Cyn waterfall flows in season. The furthest end of the bowl is tipped slightly upwards, the end closest to us, down. The result is like a giant lap resting below the torso of the mountains. We walk it counterclockwise, entering bottom left.
The light was that wonderful slanting magic light fall brings that etches each leaf with a sharp jeweler’s precision. Tufted grasses waved a thousand shades of celery green, harvest gold, pale straw. The trees shimmered and flipped through a palette of greens and silvers, while the sweet, pungent aroma from the fading Mexican arnica still permeated the air. I actually managed to harvest this year, a few plastic bags full, to make the world’s best liniment for humans. Nothing even comes close, and when it is finished, it’s just like having all that golden meadow sinking deep into one’s bones.
The Shibas love the meadow, and their golden coats flow in and out of grass and light and shadow. Nagi, the big, black sable shepherd, lumbers along, feeding his soul with the mountain’s portfolio of sounds and scents. The blue jays chatter above, and Nagi stares, dreaming his endless dreams of blue jay conquest. The moon is slightly more than half full and is up early, perching proudly on a clear azure backdrop, dead smack center above a cleft in the top left hand corner of the ridge line. My heart raises up to greet her.
The dogs are earthbound, earth passionate, earth ecstatic. They are buried in earth’s cloven ridges. As we cross the top of the bowl from left to right, the whole Sulphur Springs Valley opens up in the distance, the demarcation of earth and river, the line of the San Pedro, visible from afar. Deer scamper ahead of us, the grasses so high that all we see are the flash of white flags disappearing into the trees. The dogs pause, bodies keen on alert, then gentle at my call.
We meander to the creek’s edge, and I sit to listen to her songs. I love this little creek and talk to her often. She is full of stories, humor, pathos, yesterdays, and tomorrows, but mostly todays. She is ever so present. She makes me mind the moment. It is this gurgle, right now, that flash of light, that dropping leaf, this resonant reddish tinge, oxides a testament of summer’s hard floods. She is here now and forces me to be as well. The dogs just drink.
Across the creek and up the trail we go, tight together around the cattle guard, a right turn, and then down the right side of the bowl into the shadowed woods. Year round these woods give me succor, give me blessing. I am more comfortable in them then any friend’s living room. For me, they are like an old flannel shirt. They are my home, my family, my respite from the world. I know their moods like I know the holes in my own soul. We have known each other.
Back across the creek, and up and out once again into the meadow. Lizards live here, basking in the sun. For the dogs, it is a playground nonpareil. Lizard chasing is heaven. They dash and dart – the dogs that is, and I presume the lizards. It is an old, and endless game. The dogs are happy. The lizards I assume, not. Down we go back under the big, rambling mesquites. We have lost a number of these old grandpa trees in recent years, their shallow roots no match for the turbulent winds that seem to torment us much of the year anymore. It is sad to see them toppled, their wizened wizards’ limbs uselessly beseeching the sky.
Then on down the path to the final creek crossing, parking lot and home. It is still there, my meadow, and thankfully, I have once again climbed into her lap for comfort. The dogs and I are soothed and full, replete with mountains and sky.
Home again, home again.
Copyright Ozuna 10/7/08