This YouTube video reminds us of Maggie, our 3/4 Westie – 1/4 Bichon Frise, AND Sebastian, 1/2 Shih Tzu – 1/2 Bichon Frise, who kept us laughing by playing hide-and-seek, chase-and-be-chased every day. The mannerisms of the Westies in this video are Maggie’s precisely.
A story in preparation for Earth Day, April 22, 2012
I stand looking through the picture window at the pond behind the house. The small nature raft in the middle of the small pond is peopled with Canadian geese preening in the mid-morning sun. To their left, three or four ducks paddle across the pond – but something is different.
They’re moving much faster than usual. They don’t seem frightened; they’re just moving faster.
Then I see why. A muskrat is chasing them – ten yards or so behind. I’ve seen this before – mallards and muskrats playing a game of catch us if you can. Speed up, slow down, speed up. Nobody ever catches anybody and nobody ever gets caught. They just chase and get chased. It’s play.
As the mallards paddle past the raft with the muskrat in hot pursuit, the muskrat makes a sudden 90 degree turn, races at full speed and leaps up for the raft, the geese flapping their wings, scattering in flight just as the muskrat lands and springs into the air. A flying-muskrat in hot pursuit, an air-Jordan muskrat suspended in mid-air, a flying goose wanna-be, leaping and laughing for joy. Muskrat heaven! Sheer unadulterated play.
I envy the muscrat, the ducks and the geese today. I know I’m making the story up, but the story I tell speaks aloud a yearning for more playfulness. An enjoyment of each other with natural games that keep away the boredom and challenge our pretensions.
Nature raft with Mallards
I watch the pond a lot these days to learn about myself and us. Oh, I know! There’s also terror and danger in that pond – the snapping turtle lurks beneath the surface, the fox roams the edges, and my neighbor sometimes stands on his deck with his shotgun aimed at the little muskrat who dares to burrow his home under his manicured lawn. But today all of that is beside the point – upstaged by ducks and geese and a muskrat in self-forgetful play. I stand looking through the window and give thanks for quacking mallards, honking geese and a funny little creature whose muskrat heaven restores my natural sense of play and joy.