By now, my readers are getting to know Max pretty well. Yesterday, it was such an awesome autumn day…so golden-blue, that I took Max back on the loop where I once did daily walks with my Laurie-dog at the river. The image below is a photo that I took on one of our final river walks.
My children and I sprinkled Laurie’s ashes along the path of his favourite walks…places he had shared with me over his 14 years. I painted, as a result of his passing, a series called my Heaven Series, paintings that were rejected by the commercial galleries that represented me at the time, for the fact that they had ‘too much sky’. Sigh…
I try to get Max back to these places before the snow flies and my favourite time is in the autumn. Yesterday the yellow leaves were dancing on the ground. There was just enough breeze and in the past couple of days the leaves have been on the change.
Initially, Max was charged with excitement simply because we had such a steep drop into the valley and then there were gaggles of juvenile pheasants feeding in the open clearing left behind after utility and infrastructure revisions.
Poor photograph…but, yes, these are what caught his eye.
Where, once, I would throw sticks for Max from the broad perch of river rocks on the shore, most of the banks have dropped vertically into the water. Max found one of the few locations on the east side of the river where dry rock could be found and there was no way I was clamouring down there, although he barked enthusiastically to prompt me.
It was obvious to me that some huge shifts have happened with the river since the big Calgary flood. For Max, these changes were not so evident.
As we continued south along the river, I think Max supposed that there were going to be some excellent locations for his activity of choice. At one point, he took a mad dash from the path and I heard him briefly charging through the thick autumn brush and then….nothing. Silence. And yes…this is where he went in. A tentative and anxious herder, Max has always loved the water, but up to his hips. He has never had a swim. He has always barked at sticks when they have flowed out of his easy reach. Hmmm…this was to be a different sort of experience for him! This is where he went in.
I climbed my way through thick brush and heard his feeble cries. His situation came clear. The current was kicking him down river, all the while his wee head was popping up and his strong legs were reaching up onto the wet, worn shoulder of the river. Eyes, wide open, he caught sight of me and at my prompting, remained at one spot. I urged his hard work and with a few strong efforts, he pulled himself up and into my waiting arms.
Sheesh. Be warned! I was a bad mama! While on the west side of the river, I could see other families, children and dogs playing on a broad shore, there isn’t nothing of that kind on the east side.
This was excitement that we didn’t need…but, let it be known, my border collie has finally had a good swim!