12 November 2015

Happy Birthday Neil Young and there's ice on the dogwalk.

In the morning now, when I drive up the hill early in the morning to visit our borrowed dogwalk, there's ice on it when I arrive. Well, not on Monday, when the storm cloud broke open the minute I got out of the car. That was a quick trip. Winter is coming. Banksy can't run across an ice slick, she'd slide across and scramble through the air and fall to the ground. I can see it now on the slow-mo, scrambling for the footing and spinning and sliding from no more running footfalls, off the plank into nothing, hanging across the air before hitting the crispy grass. So I scrape the ice a little, and try to have some patience for the air to heat up just enough past freezing to melt it into water.

Running dogwalks are a project, no matter how you slice them. Banksy's best frienemy, Kirk, doesn't seem to bat an eye at dogwalk challenges, but Banksy still has a very long list of things that are difficult with hers. In the grand scheme of things, I hope a few weeks of misses or weird turns or bad separation, is only a little bobble for a lifetime of agility. She's not even two years old. We'll be chasing this one for a long time, me and her.

Neil Young was a long haired flannel shirt wearing guy when he used to show up downtown and play at a local club, just because he could. He lives in the mountains a little ways up the coast from from here, local lore reports he has a miniature train on his massive property and a lot of cars. One time when he showed up here, I had to use a fake ID to get in. Might have been in my prairie dress period, Doc Martens and a prairie dress over an old striped t-shirt. That was a long time ago.

High on the list of broken dogwalk things to fix is my grand idea of sometimes asking for a stop. I broke her running so bad that Silvia yelled at me with all caps and little frowny faces. And there's the idea that if I'm asking for a very wide turn sometimes she takes the thing on the other side if it's closer. Banksy's dogwalk is kind of doing it's own thing with her right now. Who could fathom how hard it would be to teach a border collie to run a straight line down a plank?

The ice took a long time to melt. The sun was barely reaching the edge on one side, I kept scraping it with my nail. Fussy, fussy, fussy. It's hard to be patient when this might be the day of no misses. The day I don't mess up Banksy. It could be. I tied the carpet back on, we haven't seen the old carpet since the knee surgery period of sending to the tunnel from a mile away. A little more ice melted and ran down the rubbery board.

Neil Young's birthday was today, a birthday for seventy years old. The last photo I saw of him, his face skin was saggy and jowly, kind of like how mine started to do this year.  Your hair gets really weird when you get old, too. So if he was forty when I had to use a fake ID, that means he was still younger than I am now. And here I am, waiting for the ice to melt off a little bridge for dogs.

Stupid ice. I kept finding other little patches. Scrape some more with a very cold nail.

When the planks were defrosted, we let it rip. Yeah. Still a miss here and there, still turning herself to the closest jump on the left when I wanted a further turn out there. Some messed up striding. I'm a pretty shitty dog trainer, for the most part. Can't make it clear enough for her to understand the things I want. She had a few good hits, too. So all isn't lost. I'm a miner for that perfect hit.

Happy Birthday, Neil Young. Did you have a party, up there in your personal redwoods, with your train? Or did you just go out to the barn and work on the cars, work on some songs, still searching for whatever it is you need to find? We celebrated for you when the ice melted, ran that dogwalk over and over again, looking for that hit. Let's hope there's many more.


nope said...

i ran two dogs in team last weekend. one was pvp, but same running. i am not quite as old as Neil Young, but i'll bet he couldn't run two dogs in team... writes insane and amazing music, though. happy happy never grow up, Neil.
i have not yet found the heart of gold at the end of the dogwalk. i am willing to admit, that for me and mine, that gold might be buried in a stop with a quick release.
long may we run. agility forever!

team small dog said...

Banksy will run her first time in team in a few weeks. Not sure if that's the best thing, to run team when you've only gone to two trials, but this is what she'll do. And she's invented stop with a quick release as well, sort of showed me how she could do that even though it was never my idea. Her own hybrid, the prius of running dogwalk. Long may we run!