Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Seeing and Not Seeing

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
—Edgar Allan Poe ("A Dream Within A Dream")

What I saw wasn't a dream. Yesterday about 3:15 p.m. I actually saw a bear cross Listening Hill Road near the intersection with Blacksmith Road. The big critter lumbered out of the cornfield about 30 feet in front of my 94 Dodge pickup, crossed right in front of me, and vanished into the woods. (I went back today and took pictures of where the bear was when I saw it.)

The bear crossed the road about the middle of this picture.

I was on my way back from the farm where I checked the mailbox and made sure that the cottage hadn't been broken into again)  by way of the Penhook Minute Market (they had a good special on both eggs and bacon) by way of the dumpster (to get rid of three bags of garbage, a bag of newpapers for recycling, and two bags of plastic stuff for recycling) and by way of the post office (to mail a copy of Ferradiddledumday to a reviewer in California).

Not believing that I was actually seeing a bear, I fumbled in my purse for my camera. Too late. The bear was gone. But I saw it! I've lived in the area since 1999, and—while everyone else has seen a bear—I'd never seen one. Now I have. I wish I could have gotten a picture.

The bear came from this cornfield . . . 

. . .  and vanished into these woods.

This morning, when I went to feed the dogs, Maggie met me at the gate with her squeaky ball in her mouth. She has me trained to throw the ball as soon as I enter the kennel. In between dishing out the dog breakfasts, I threw her ball. Over and over. And over. Border collies love repetitive work.

While I was serving breakfast to Emma, Maggie pushed the ball into my hand, then assumed her ball-chasing position. I was busy, so I tossed the ball over my shoulder. I didn't hear it hit the ground. Maggie didn't go running off in search of it. Huh? What happened to the ball.

Maggie looked all around; I looked all around. No ball.  Maggie stared daggers at me. How could I have lost her ball? Her favorite squeaky ball!

I looked around the kennel, including the depths of Maggie's rather murky tub. Meanwhile, Maggie raced around and searched all the places she thought the ball might be.

After I left the kennel to fill the dog water buckets, I looked around the adjoining pasture. I didn't see the  ball at all. Could a ball just disappear into thin air, or was I dreaming?

After I'd filled the buckets and was toting them back to the kennel, I noticed Maggie looking at the top of the fence. Intently looking, as only a border collie can look. Then Maggie looked at me and wuffed.

I looked at the top of the fence. There, wedged between the top of the chain-link fence and the corral panel that keeps Melody from leaning on the chain-link fence, was Maggie's ball. I retrieved it and tossed; she retrieved it and pushed it into my hand. I tossed again, etc.

How had I missed seeing where the ball went? Because it wasn't where I expected it to be.

The bear wasn't where I expected it to be, either. But I saw it.

And I wasn't dreaming.


Blogger Snappy Di said...

Haven't had any bears in our area yet this summer that any of our neighbors has reported... when there is one news travels fast. Sorry you missed the photo op.


11:18 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

I always get very excited when I see a bear. Hope you get a shot next time!

1:35 PM  

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