Saturday, August 29, 2009

Adventures of Molly the Wine Dog #2: first night

I look upstream, searching for something familiar. I see nothing by trees and the light cutting to the ground on a slant unlike midday when it fears straight down. My belly is starting to grumble.

I turn and look downstream where the river boils over rocks and around a bend. Still nothing but trees. I walk around in a tight circle, head down, searching for a scent to guide me home. I smell nothing but the verdant fir trees and a needy dankness that is me.

I lick my bloody claw, broken in the downhill scramble that was part of how I found myself here in the first place. I hear the cry of a red tailed hawk in the distance - around the bend where the river flows. That seems as good a reason as many to me to go around that bend and see what's there. I carefully pick my way along the slippery boulder-strewn bank toward something. I still don't know what.

I'm almost to the bend and my stomach churns with hunger. I imagine the sound of my kibble hitting the steel bowl like a rainstorm of little rocks announcing dinner. A little drool pools in my mouth and slips out the side. I pause to drink the beautiful cool water of the river in a small calm spot against the shore. It's still enough that I see the Water Dog gazing back at me. She mimics my every move - she licks when I lick, blinks when I blink, and when I bark - she jumps back and vanishes.

Drinking the water calms my stomach and I round the bend to see a wide open stretch of river. With enough room to breathe the river exhales and expands into the space, relaxed from pushing through the rocks and slips lazily on as far as I can see. Small flies dot the surface causing rings that grow wider and disappear.

I look down to see the Water Dog again but something else flashes under the surface. It's a brilliant silvery thing with green and pink streaks and it's still for a moment before twitching and flitting away. I relax my eyes and see another. And another. And pretty soon, these fish look like dinner.

I put a paw in the water and the fish burst to life, vacating the area and leaving me along with a wet foot and an empty belly. The water is cold as ice and soon my foot is tingly and confused - so cold it's almost feels hot. It settle this when I step in with my second paw. I yelp just a little then hold still and wait - thinking of all those times I waited for the man and the feathery thing - only this was more important. This was about food and I was prepared to hold my position until the fish return.

And, they do.

First one, then another fish come close, settle near the bottom and flit away at the slightest disturbance. Again and again they come and go, becoming as accustomed to my frozen paws as any other rock or submerged branch. I can't feel my feet but still I wait.

And the moment comes.

A medium sized fish comes just under my head and faces away from me, oblivious to my powerful jaws dangling just inches above her. With the full force of my frustration of being lost, the rumble of my hungry tummy, and the pain of the cold on my paws, I drive my face through the surface of the water and my teeth push through scales, sinew and bone, dragging the thrashing fish well up on shore.

It struggles, but I am hungry and snap its neck with one good shake. It's taste is unfamiliar and yet it feels so right. I drop it and step on it with one paw, pulling the tasty meat with my teeth. Roe spills onto the shore and I lap it up. I have killed this thing to survive and I will not dishonor it by wasting a morsel.

It is only now that my belly is full that I notice the sun is almost down and I'm shivering all over. the feeling has returned to my paws and while I'm still afraid, I'm feeling better, reasonably assured that I will not starve. Not today anyway.

I follow my nose into the forest, smelling for some kind of shelter. I find a rotten tree that has fallen and dig out a patch of mushy leaves at its base. It's a half-hearted attempt at shelter but I'm tired and it's the best I can do with this attitude. I wind around in a small circle once, twice, three times and curl up as best I can, stuffing my nose under my paw and try to sleep. The last thing I hear is an own, hooting overhead. A thing covered in feathers, taunting me to get even more lost.

As if that were possible.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I have 1000! I have 1000! I have 1000!

Woof! I have 1000 followers on Twitter. Follow me! @mollythewinedog

I have a nose for wine.

Adverntures of Molly the Wine Dog: #1 - How I came to be lost.

When I was a pup I was easily distracted. You know, one minute your nose is in a cat's butt and the next...something in the air catches in your throat only to drag you off to the next putrid thing nestled in the cool grass waiting to be rolled in.

It was in this way on a particular day that I came to be lost.

Morning turned to midday and I could tell because the sun fell in dappled splotches burning across my coat through the leaves of the trees above. I walked with the lanky man whose hands dangled loosely at his sides, occasionally stroking my head, mindlessly and naturally, jerking every so often to tuck a piece of hair behind his ear.

I'm almost the color of the soil in this Willamette Valley Wine Country -- just one shade darker. I am red-brown and I know this because I can see my paws as I walk. I think I'm pretty young too because I have urges to jump on everything. And, my teeth hurt all the time. They only feel better when I gnash on things like shoes, furniture and anything rubber, like bike tires. And, because my feet seem extra big plugged onto the ends of my legs.

The lanky man takes me out every day to chase things that fly and bring them back without chewing or putting holes in them. He makes me stand very still and wait for a command. It makes me itch all over to see the thing covered in feathers leave his hand as he throws it and waits for it to land. I wait and wait and wait for the command to sniff it out and bring it back. The ache of waiting hurts and feels wonderful all the same. It's an interesting enough way to spend the day, but I'm a dog. You'd think he'd be looking for more variety, but hey, whatever. Throw it again. I'm in.

On this particular day the lanky man flung the feathery thing a few times deep into the woods. How he did this without lodging it squarely in a fir tree I'll never know, but he did - over and over again.

His phone rang.

"Yeah," he cradled the phone to his ear with one hand and flung my prize with the other. "Get it," he said and turned his back, still talking into the phone. I tore out after the thing, flinging grass and small dirt clods with my back paws.

Leaning hard, left and right, running full tilt, I dodge trees, missing them by a narrow margin. My thick red tail swishes in a circle behind me, a giant propeller sweep of happy tail. I slow, smelling for just the right scent of feather, leather and lanky man hands when it hits me. Adrenaline makes my head feel crisp and light as the aroma is drawn deep into my lungs and forces all other thoughts to the backseat.


Sure as the day I was born, whenever that was, sweet, glorious vermin - cat - put here on this green earth for my personal entertainment. Pussy by any other name.

I tear off slightly left, driving deeper and deeper through bramble tunnels past a slim, rocky creek, all the while bathing my throat in the glory of this one true scent. I want to puke with excitement. The slope turns steep and the scent quickens -- right slightly and then a scramble over moss covered stones. I lose purchase, stiffen my front paws against the fall and slide my way to the bottom, cracking a claw grown long on lazy days with the lanky man roaming only in the soft grass.

I'm stuffed against my will in a thicket and burst through the other side onto a dusty and gravel-covered road, home to few and distinteresting to most who accidentally come upon it.

And there she was. Or what she used to be.

A gray tabby was splayed on the dusty road, her perfect scent now overpowered by the lurid stench of bloat just starting. I paw at the ground beside her and nudge her with my nose. She rocks slightly but not under her own power. I lick her sweet face one last time - the chase of so many summer days now over and resist the urge to defile the corpse by rolling on her. She was my friend. So instead, I grasp her heck in my teeth and tug her to the tall grass where she'll rest now.

Thirsty and tired I turn toward home but hesitate at the wood's edge wondering which way that was. The death scent is too strong to smell my own trail and when I follow scent I'm flying blind, running right behind my nose without looking or thinking about my surroundings. I criss cross the treeline hoping to pick up a scent, but it's pointless. I look down and see my cracked claw, remembering the downhill scramble. I lick it clean then trudge up a nearby hill. I hear tumbling water up ahead. There was a creek right? Between my toes is wet, squishy mud, so that must be right. I follow the sound through more underbrush and pick up some speed as it thins, bursting through then scrambling backward to keep from pitching headlong off a high embankment into the biggest torrent of water I've ever seen.

Black soup in the slacks and raging white boil around large boulders this water is pissed and as alluring as anything I've ever seen. It doesn't babble but screams. I want to drink it, swim in it and curse it all at once. For the first time, I know exactly where I am.

I am lost.

(This is the first in a series of Molly the Wine Dog stories. Be sure to check back frequently for subsequent posts).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Drop the Cheese!

I love cheese. Not just a little, light romance. We're talkin' full bore, all on, out and out soul crushing love. With sugar on top. So, when you visit Styring, please drop at least one small piece for me. And, not out in the open - stash it where the wine wife can't scoop it up and put it in the trash. Put it behind a barrel. And, don't worry about mice. I beat them to it. Love, Molly