Sunday, July 15, 2012
Murdoch splashes through puddles that fill ruts in the trail. The puddles are long and point the way both forward and backward along the path, like double-ended arrowheads, swelling in the middle to stretch across almost the entire width of the trail.
In the deepest spots the water is up past Murdoch’s knees and he wades noisily through them, scooping up great mouthfuls of water, snapping his jaws like a hungry alligator. He won’t lie in the puddles like Bear or Jack, who both wallow happily in the midst of the muddiest water, but if I let him I think he would drink every last drop.
At the swimming hole Murdoch runs ahead, throwing glances over his shoulder to make sure I’m following and then he disappears down the steep bank, swishing through the long grass, his feet squelching in the mud, and then silence. I catch up and peer over the edge of the embankment. Murdoch stands at the water’s edge, poised to leap into action at any moment. All I can see is the back of his head but I know his eyes are scanning the still surface of the water just waiting for the tiniest ripple.
I turn back to the trail and pick up a pebble then toss it over hand, above the ever-growing bushes, into the water. It lands with a tiny plink and a splash and Murdoch explodes from the edge of the swimming hole, his legs propelling him up and out into the water to land like a giant cannon ball not far from the expanding ripples.
Murdoch swims frantically to where the pebble splashed and disappeared beneath the surface of the water, not interested in actually finding the pebble but in capturing and eating the splashes. But they dissipate so fast he has to settle for snapping up the ripples left in its wake.
I throw more rocks, plink, splash, into the water and he changes direction, paddling so fast his shoulders rise higher above the surface. He hoovers up the water as he circles the pond again and again so I can hear it sloshing in his belly as he walks home beside me.