Leaving the Raft

IMG_1063That New Boyfriend teases me about Beatrice’s behavior and how she won’t walk into the pasture with me. It’s clear Bea adores me but the old girl literally sits down just on the other side of the fence and won’t follow me despite pleas and cajoling. He suggested a pork chop around my neck. He does own it’s a mystery, is she protecting me from what’s out there? Jim shouting at Huck Finn comes to mind when I stand in the field and she sits just outside the fence: “Come back to the raft Huck honey!”  She knows what lurks and doesn’t want me to stumble upon it. She is my Jim, my protector from what is away from the raft of her home.

A few weeks ago we were having a spell of wretched weather of sub zero temperatures but I made myself go for a walk after I bothered Harley and played with the barn kittens. I stepped back in the house to get a heavier coat and as I was leaving, that boyfriend noticed Bea was on the porch:
“She’s waiting for you.”
“Yeah but she won’t walk with me.”

I declined the “kind” offer of a pork chop for my neck but accepted the handful of kibble. I rattled it in my hand as I walked from the house to the yard calling her. Today I would get Bea to follow and walk with me into the pasture and beyond the first water tank. Heck, maybe we would just walk and walk for hours together. (I’m being mildly sarcastic it was damn cold and I amazed myself even taking a walk.)

As always she followed me about three feet past the gate to the pasture and then sat down as if to will me to return to her. I kept walking ahead and calling, waving my arm and using the most enthusiastic voice possible. Not budging. And because she has me trained, I walked back to her, showed her the kibble, walked a few feet and placed a piece. She slowly trotted towards me; like it was a trick or something and then I gave her the kibble, a kind word, and a pat before walking a few more feet. She watched me walk away and we repeated our kibble ritual. It took two more bits before she ran to me and then ahead of me, turning back to beckon me forward so I could see her special places.

I was chuffed to say the least. It didn’t matter how cold it was. It didn’t matter I hadn’t bothered with my thermasilks because Beatrice had finally followed me for a walk and had forgotten herself in the delight of little kibble treats. But she stopped short like she remembered I mustn’t leave the raft for her shore.

I watched her, I called, I put kibble on the ground and rather than sit where she was, she moved back towards the gate and sat in her usual spot, eyes never leaving me. I walked a few more feet until my back started to whine at me to turn around. It was glorious on the prairie that day despite the cold and the absence of wind made it almost blissful. Before I retraced my steps I crouched low and tried to tempt her with kibble one last time. But she got up and went back to the yard.

I made my way back to the yard and when I reached the gate she ran to me in that merry Beatrice way she has. Then she raced around me in circles, her Australian Shepard showing as she herded me to the back porch. I was safe once again on the raft.

“it’s the little things that smoothes people’s roads the most”
― Mark Twain

About Laura

When my nest emptied I moved from the big city to a little big town to tend to a ramshackle yellow house on the edge of town. These are my Yellow House Days.
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12 Responses to Leaving the Raft

  1. Interesting, wouldn’t you love to know what’s going on in her mind.

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  2. I think the pork chop is your best way. Riley does something similar. I’ll call him to me and he’ll come, back away, come, back away and the third or 4th time he’ll come. Go figure.

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  3. I loved this essay. It reminded my of venturing out on subzero walks when I lived in Montana. Beautiful writing.

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  4. Michelle says:

    Beautifully written!

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  5. Ah, she’s an Aussie. That explains a lot. Her job is to keep the herd together, and your straying is just…well, wrong! Herding dogs (border collies, shelties, collies) are so intense…and so stubborn!

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  6. Carolann says:

    Wow that sounded like it was out of a book – a short story! I love your writing skills!

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