Another crisp day on the east coast. I love the mornings although I never realize how much I love them until I get out onto the heath and inhale the burst of scents as the sunlight evaporates the frost and dew from the flora and fauna. It seems to me that the aroma of a fresh morning is so much stronger than any other time of day, particularly when it is just touched by the breaking dawn.
Today was a scent adventure for the dogs since the activity of forest critters is now accelerated as they prepare for the coming winter. Racoon tracks in patches of mud have been spotted these past few mornings, the little five fingered toe prints are a dead give-away, and both dogs snuffle into the grass and bushes for about 15 feet to see where the trail ends - usually at my recall.
As squirrels and birds gather their winter stores they fuss about in the trees and the dogs, thinking something wonderful is occurring, smash their way into the underbrush with the result of silencing whatever made the noise in the first place. They always emerge satisfied their self-appointed critter patrol has been fulfilled and we carry on down the path.
We took a left instead of a right today and as I halted on a little rise looking over the meadow, Leeloo froze on high alert listening to a pheasant crow a welcome to the Autumn morning. As we gazed across the grassland the pheasant took to the air, squawking the whole time, and both dogs could see and hear its progress as it flew toward us about 10 feet above the brush, banked to the right and landed 100 yards to our left. Well, needing no convincing, Boy and Leeloo were off like a shot toward where they last saw the bird. Unfortunately quite a substantial tangle of blackberry canes stood between them and the bird and they quickly gave up the hunt as being a lost cause. I knew, however, that where the bird landed was exactly 10 feet from the path we were going to use to get back to the truck. I was curious to see what they did when they passed within a few feet of the pheasant they would not realize was there.
Leeloo did not disappoint. As we drew close to where the bird was last 'seen' Leeloo's nose started twitching and although she passed the bird she did back track into the bush to find where the scent was coming from. Raimi knew Leeloo was onto something but he was not as tenacious about it so he just followed her lead and, finding nothing of note, got bored and lost interest. Leeloo spent a considerable amount of time trying to find the bird but without luck. Maybe it wandered further into the bush, maybe it was just keeping its head down, but since my feet were getting cold we pressed on, leaving the pheasant to crow another day.
Some days when I'm lying in bed, cocooned by down, drifting on the gentle waves of semi-consciousness, it is hard to get myself moving. Dragging body and mind into the cold morning can be a trial but it is always worth it once I am traversing the meadowlands and woods with the dogs, breathing in the brisk air and taking in the wondrous perfume of the dawn.