Tuesday, October 18, 2011
When Murdoch is wet he is all jaw. His hair, normally shaggy and wind-blown, clings to his body, sleek and shiny. His long legs become toothpick skinny and even his feet, which seem huge when he’s dry, are bony; the usually frazzled hair, now sodden and heavy, defines each toe.
This past summer Murdoch lived in the swimming hole. Every day he dashed down the bank and waited in the shallows, water up to his knees, for me to throw a stick so he could plunge in, sending up white cascades of water. If the swimming hole did not freeze in the winter, I am sure he would paddle through it, steam rising from his fur, while snowflakes drifted down and melted into the black water around his head.
But in the late days of September beneath blue skies and the summer heat of a fast moving autumn sun, winter seems months away and Murdoch splashes enthusiastically around the pond, snatching up ripples in his mouth on his way to retrieve the stick.
He emerges from the water, bounds up the path and appears at the top of the slippery slope streaming water behind him from a rat-thin tail while it sheets off his sides. He drops the stick and stands for a moment, stares at me, contemplating my next move. Is it worth it to shake off before turning again for another cannonball into the pond?
“Thanks,” I say as he stomps his feet in anticipation, eyeing up the stick in my hand. I let it fly up over his head to splash again into the water and he turns, kicking up mud as he leaps down the hill after it, water sloshing in his belly.