The Dogs Tales are a series of posts in which Tilly has her say....
It's the end September, the trees are turning to gold and the hillside bracken to rust. The days are warm but the nights are cold, and dusk carries the scent of woodsmoke. At summer's end, I feel a Dog must pause to reflect on the season just past.
It's been a good summer: plenty of sunshine, long walks, loafing in the garden, snoozing in the grass, and journeys to wild places with my Pack. I have waded through streams and paddled in rivers.
I have leapt through the waves and wallowed in the mud.
Family and friends came all the way from London and New York just to see me. (I encouraged them to visit with my People too.)
I got to stay with my Beloved-est Friend when the rest of my Pack went up to the Big City. This is his portrait of me:
It was very strange.
Yes, it was an excellent summer. That is, in all respects but one:
The Cat population next door has grown. There must be seven or eight of them now. I patrol my territory from dawn to dusk, and keep watch indoors through the back bedroom window, but those fiendish Felines still get into the garden, strutting across the grass and taunting me.
I chase, I chase, dear god, I chase ... but the devilish creatures are too quick! Up they go, over the fence, across the rooftops ... leaving me (so close! so close!) veritably whimpering with my frustration. It's a serious job, protecting my People from Cats, and a good Dog's work is never done.
Now it is autumn. We've harvested the plums and apples, the peas and cucumbers, the lavender and the lemon balm. The flowers are fading, the grape vine is drooping, and the little pond is thick with weeds and shadows. There are Frogs in the pond, Birds in the trees ... and far too many Squirrels for my liking. They throw nuts at the studio roof to crack them open, and it drives me wild.
Blackberry season is almost over, though there are still plenty left if you know where to find them. I love blackberries. I love eating them all along the paths winding over our hill, risking the prick of brambles to lip that dark, sweet juiciness down.
This year I've discovered a new technique. I stop beside a good cluster of berries, look up at my Person, and then back at the berries. Then I do it again, sometimes two or three times, until my intent is clear. She plucks the berries out of the brambles and I eat them from the soft palm of her hand. She is a very good Person, gentle and easily trained. I chose her well.
Yes, it's been a fine Dartmoor summer. I hope it will be a fine autumn too, both here on Dartmoor and wherever else in the world that you may be. I wish you many walks, sweet berries, and good companions on every path you roam. Blessings to you and all your Pack.
Image credits: The sketch of me above is by my Beloved, David Wyatt; the photo of Owen & Rachel jumping on Chagford Common was taken by Owen & Rachel themselves (how did they do that?); the photo of me & Delia Sherman by the fairy spring on Chagford Common is by Ellen Kushner; the Chagford Carnival photos are by Lin Copeland, from the "Friends of Chagford Library" site. All other photos are by my Person. Mostly starring me.
This post is dedicated to young Cinnamon, her Person (Karen Meisner) and her brand new Pack. Be sure to train your People well, grasshopper. It's never too early to start.