Sunday, January 13, 2008

rain, rain, go away

High: 42
Low: 34
Conditions: Rain, Freezing Rain, Sleet

For a caninaturalist, rain can often be great fun. It brings out salamanders and spring peepers; it creates mucky puddles perfect for splashing; it enhances smells and redistributes snacks. None of this is true, however, during the January thaw. This rain is cold and enervating. To paraphrase our new husky friend Tubey, January rain in Maine is just plain stupid ( .

Ari and I set out to brave the sleet and freezing rain this afternoon, hoping we could find something redemptive about the weather conditions. It’s swamped our ski trails and made snowshoeing all but impossible, so we stuck to our favorite dirt road to see what we could find.

Not a single animal could be found: no new tracks, no scat, nothing. Anything with any sentience is hunkering down somewhere with a little bit of shelter.

We don’t blame them. There is beauty in a thaw:

But it’s the kind of beauty best appreciated from a distance. Up close and personal, the moisture seeps into your boots and hat; it mats dog fur; it threatens to destroy a new digital camera. On a day like today, Ari doesn’t stop to smell or explore, and she barely acknowledges even the domestic animals we pass on our walk. After 15 minutes, we relent. I take a few hasty photos and we head home, where we can work on some species identification in the warmth and comfort of the house.
Red pine (Pinus resinosa)

Japanese Hydrangea (Hydrangaceae Macrophylla)

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Litter Bug (homo sapien jerkus)

Ari doesn’t care about this part of our canine naturalism project. It doesn’t matter to her that a guy named Linnaeus devised a system of organizing organisms, or that people like Darwin and Mendel and countless contemporary scientists have been tweaking it ever since. Instead, she rests quietly—pensively even—on the back of the couch, staring out the window at all that rain.
Or at least that’s what I think she’s doing.

When I stumble out of my office and away from my field guides, I discover she’s been busy with her own scientific project: couch dissection.
In our house, a quiet dog is usually being a bad dog. I know this. And somewhere deep in my subconscious, I probably even reminded myself about this fact while I was thumbing through tree books. By the time I emerged from the office, however, the damage had been done. I know should scold her for this kind of wanton destruction. But to be honest, I know exactly how she feels. January rain is stupid: we just choose to respond to that stupidity in different ways.


Turbo the Sibe said...

Thank you for quoting me! Hot winter weather is, indeed, stupid.

I've never been a destructive dog, but the rest of my pack tells me it's lots of fun and good therapy.

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

What pretty pikhs!

And big tails UP for the khouch khonstrukhtion efforts!!

I'm with Tubey on the destrukhtive traits - I'm a sweets stealer not a 'khreative paws on gal' -

I leave THAT to my MalPal Summi The Super Mal!

Wags and Wuv,

Bentley's Mom said...

Looks like you'll be getting that new couch after all:) Bentley is quite jealous that you are ambitious enough to take Ari out in the nasty weather. His lame people sat around reading all day and limply throwing a tennis ball across the living room when he got antsy. You are a good mom, indeed, Kate.
By the way, the squirrel is not taunting Ari, merely enjoying the feast you obviously laid out for his enjoyment. In my world, animals with furry cuteness, such as the red squirrel or even better, the chipmunk, rank high above birds in nature's heirarchy. Disagree all you like, birders!

Lorenza said...

Rainy days are not fun! I mean, I like them but my mom doesn't sooooo no walkies for me!
Good job with that couch!
Have a good night

The Army of Four said...

We're just not destructive. We're not sure why not ... it seems fun.
We do agree that winter rain is stupid. Tubey is so profound, isn't he? Give us snow, lots of SNOW!
We love your beautiful pictures!
Tail wags,

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh no, Ari, no!!! You're lucky your mom was so patient and able to understand your motivation. :-) My pup, Roxy, actually ate part of the laundry room wall and baseboard a couple seasons back due to boredom, so I can relate. The wall...imagine it! She had all this gooey white stuff in her little beard from the powdery drywall. I thought for a minute she was foaming at the mouth. Maybe I should post a picture of that... :-) :-)

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrr Ari
Mud and rain are sometimes fun but not all the time Harrrrr. ye tore up the couch like a pirate wolud Harrrr good job matey Harrr
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos. And Ari is beautiful, maybe that helps when being naughty? BoDog, our farm dog, has his days also. Nice blog.

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrr Ari
I gave ye an award Harrrrr go to yer Cap'n blog to find out Harrrr
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

trailrunner said...

Great blog--and what a beautiful dog!

The Daily Echo said...

I'd say Ari has modified or re-structured the sofa. We haven't done that yet but there's plenty of other modifications we've made in our house!

Demitri said...

Ha! I love the scientific name for litter bug--reminiscent of Road Runner-Coyote chase scenes! Now that couch: there must be more of a story there. Are you saying that all happened in one day? It hasn't been more of a long-term husky art project? Hmmm....well, someone once told me a bored husky is a mischievous husky.