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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

dog day afternoon (haibun)


After an endless, hot and drought-stricken summer in Ontario, the mid-September weather has cooled dramatically. I'm dogsitting my friend's cairn terrier, and rather than walk both dogs in the village, I decided it was more relaxing to take them to ZenRiver for a visit. A bonus is I don't have to poop and scoop among the sumacs and campsite trails. MacDuff almost immediately lost his wandering privileges, though, as he sauntered off on a trail and didn't return. Chase and I went to retrieve him, and found him standing halfway up the dirt road.

Realizing I had to keep a closer eye on my new charge, I decided to take the dogs back through the sacred cedar grove to the flat rocks. Two years ago several geologists visited, and explained these crazily twisted surfaces are the roots of an old mountain. Previously I had believed the rough dark surfaces to be a lava flow, pockmarked with kettle holes, worn into channels by the Moira River and laced with silvery mineral veins.

walking on the roots
of an old mountain range

I sat on a large weather-bleached tree branch, gazing across the small pool and the river, while the dogs sniffed and explored.

gentle river sound
wore down this mountain

Suddenly the shape of a blue heron came into focus. I reminisced about Big Blue, the heron spirit who had first greeted me at ZenRiver seven years ago when I bought the property. Big Blue met a sad fate, hanged in the tangle of a sapling too small to bear his substantial size. It is a good feeling to have a new blue heron spirit among us.

buzzard floating
above the poised heron

Although zen-like in their activities, both large birds were hunting. MacDuff had disappeared again, and when I arose to look for him, my motion startled the heron, who slowly lifted upstream across the shallow pond, crossing the buzzard's shadow.

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Ulaaqut Chris   (Greetings in Inuktitut),
    Thanks so much indeed  for the new haibun.   It was a pleasure to
read it.  I am glad that you have a heron spirit in your forest
retreat.   I have always loved great blue herons.  Occasionally I see
one flying above my house,  heading to the river to fish.
    I would be curious to know what kind of birds can be seen in your
ZenRiver  area.
    Aye, we are flowers all.
    I shout love, and peace.

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Ulaaqut Marvin,
ZenRiver Gardens, in the pioneer hamlet of Malone, is a regular sanctuary for birds (& mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, even a few humans, & lots of gentle nature spirits - a few 'little people' even caught on film carelessly wandering around!)

We enjoy visiting orioles, several varieties of doves & woodpeckers, flickers,  finches, butcher birds (nest in the stunted thorn trees), king birds, robins (lots of nests), swallows, bluejays, gray jays, cardinals, nuthatches, buzzards, kingfishers (a bit rare), varieties of ducks & geese, herons, wrens - and I'm probably forgetting a dozen or more other species :  )

It's always enjoyable to sit on the shaman shack deck, drink a beer, & just relax & watch 'nature's TV'. We've seen some quite incredible sights doing this. Foxes slink by, & one aft a blue heron flew right over us, immediately followed by its mate. As they flew over the shallow river, they did a synchronized barrel roll !!!! Also watched otters swim on their backs & play like 3-year-old humans, unaware that human eyes were watching. And mating giant snapping turtles with moss on their huge backs, some stuff almost too crazy to believe, & likely seen by only a few of our human kind ...

peace & flowers,
Chris ... & Chase ... and visiting MacDuff (cairn terrier) 
Wrfffffffffffffffffffffff! Wrffffffffffffff! Wfffffff!


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