The sun is radiant and the sky brilliant blue, clouds feathered across its expanse. The calendar may insist that winter is just around the corner, but right now it feels more like a balmy spring day.
We’re out at one of our favorite stomping grounds, Lake Warren game lands in Upper Black Eddy. This outing is particularly special, as we are enjoying the company of a new member of our pack, a 15-week-old puppy named Noah. Like Jesse, Noah is a black and tan coonhound mix – mostly coonhound with just a smidgen of mix.
My initial intent had been to bring an older dog into our home, as we did with our beloved Buzzy. But having experienced the loss of Buzzy and our cat within the past two years, my husband lobbied convincingly for the youthful presence of a puppy.
So here I am raising a puppy, and as with many others in my situation, sometimes wondering what the heck I was thinking. Noah’s antics have me shifting from grumbling exasperation to sighs of frustration to smiles of joy to hysterical laughter. It’s a good thing that he’s so cute, funny,and sweet, as that’s his saving grace. Noah is a holy terror and pure delight all rolled into one. Deep down, I have faith that he has the makings of a great dog.
We walk the wide swath of turf that fronts the lake, the gray trunks of denuded trees rimming the lake on opposite shores. During the warmer months the lake is submerged under masses of water lilies, but now they have descended back into the depths of their roots, awaiting their turn to once again dominate the water.
A path takes us through forest to a secluded pond where, behind a curtain of cattails, a pair of lesser scaups startles and takes flight. Lesser scaups are diving ducks that feed on mollusks and aquatic plants, but most interesting is their tendency to play dead – head stretched out, eyes open, and wings drawn into the body – when grasped by a predator such as a fox.