The Black Dogs And The Burning Bush

The Black Dogs And The Burning Bush

Once upon a time, in a land not far from here (just up the hill and around the bend, and the bend, and the one more bend, actually), on an evening not all that long ago (last night, as a matter of fact), two black dogs of a decent size (although not nearly as big as they think they are in the wild, wide world) and a youngish age (although not nearly young enough to viably pretend they don't know where they should be and what they should be doing) caught the scent of something lovely and intriguing and so absolutely worth it (some things just are, you know), that their brains shut off and their ears shut down (only in the backwardsly direction, of course, they could hear what was in front of them perfectly well), and they left the woman who loves them (so much, she does) and started to run.

They ran and ran until they saw the source of the lovely and intriguing and so absolutely worth it (some things just are) smell, and one of them (being unable to help himself) let out two excited little look-what-I-FOUND yips (which sounded to the woman who loves them [so much, she does] like oh-no-I'm-HURT), and then went quiet and they ran.

And ran and ran and ran.  Once or twice, far in the distance (because their ears were working again in all directions), they thought they heard the woman who loves them call, and the whisp of the whistle (bosun's pipe, the man who loves them would insist) that meant Show, but it was oh so distant now and, really, some things just are. They ran and ran and ran, and, by dark, were so far away that when the man who loves them (so much, he does)  walked down a muddy trail calling and blowing the bosun's pipe (whistle, the woman who loves them would smile), they were so far into the wet green wilding, that they were nothing but nose and run and some things just are.

They ran and ran and ran all of the night without rest, filled up with the smells of deer and cougar and bear and loam and wet, until, by the first grayings of dawn through the rain, they were feeling very hungry and more than a little tired.  The bigger one (not so much bigger, but dense, resembling a Black Hole of dogness - mass of muscle barely contained by the size of his skin) stopped.  And the smaller one (not so much smaller, but somehow softer, sleeker, deceptive in his not-small strengths and stamina) stopped.

They turned and, running, began to follow their own trail back to where they began.  There were places where a later trail crossed an earlier, and, there, sometimes, there would be a quicker way to the next place back to where they began (because sometimes you can go back to where you need to be without having to step in every single footprint you made to get where you are), and they would run a little faster again (because, you know, after so many hours of running, there is a lag that happens when you're in the middle).

When, finally, they got back to where they began, there was a car there, sitting where their car had been.  They smelled it and knew there had been a man in it.  They knew he had walked down to the trail to the river, and they knew that he was carrying something that smelled slightly rotten and thoroughly wonderful.  One belly growled, one mouth drooled.  

But their car wasn't there.  

They were tired, and a little afraid for the second time (the first being when that big BIG cat screamed at them and they thought they might understand what the man who loves them had been saying when they got home the last time) in the long, long run, and they didn't know what exactly to do. So they went back down the trail a ways, thinking maybe about going to find the man at the river and see if maybe they could find that something slightly rotten and thoroughly wonderful to eat.

Halfway down, one of them heard something (because his ears were working in all directions, but particularly well towards Home just now) that might be their car clear back up at the top of the hill.  It had that funny almost-rattle that sounded like their car when they were in it, and it had stopped.  Which seemed good.

They turned and went back up the hill, not running now (because, you know, after so many hours of running, there is a lag that happens at the end), but trotting more.  Moving their legs through tired and hungry towards hoping.

She (who loves them, so much) was there and they were glad.  She got out of their car in the rain, and she let them in.  The Older One was there, too, calm waiting on his back seat, and the bigger one (not so much big, but oh so dense) licked his face.

The woman didn't talk to them like she usually did.  She didn't pet them or give them gingersnaps.  She didn't seem angry with them, but she was quiet.  She let them in their car and started driving.

And then she stopped.  Not Anywhere, just stopped in the road and started talking to someone they couldn't hear.  One of them smelled smoke, but it didn't seem like it had much to do with him, so he put his head back down on his Woman's (he loves her, really he does.) leg.  Outside the window, he could see, clear up at the top where the squirrels go when he and his brother (the smaller one, who is sleek) chase them, there was a white-yellow sparkly fire up in a tree.  It seemed odd, but he was tired, so he didn't think about it much, just watched how it danced and traveled down the tree, how a branch fell in flames and went cold on the wet ground, how it got smaller then, and then a little bigger, and he wished that she would give him something to eat.

They sat there, watching the fire in the tree, him and her, for a while longer, until a really big car with swirling lights came, and then they drove and stopped and drove until they got home.  

Once upon a just right now, there were two black dogs, fast asleep in a warm house with rain on the roof, dreaming about wet forests and warm houses and breakfast (they are so hoping the woman who loves them [she does.  so very much.] will wake them to breakfast).  Two black dogs, who know they are Home.

LLH; 05.29.10

More story here.