And every October the death knell of the impending funeral of autumn is heard in my neighborhood. It is the sound of hammers on wood. The annual construction of the skating rink across the street, in the park.
This morning I left my apartment building and started out across that park.
Along the length of the near side of the newly erected rink, a couple were exercising their gorgeous Golden Retriever.
Back and forth this beautiful beast tirelessly ran, as the man threw a ball the length of the boards, to his partner. The dog would always meet the bouncing ball in the leaf-strewn grass long before it met either human. Then he would bound over and place the spit-laden missile in the waiting hand. As the woman fired the ball back to the man, the tireless dog was already halfway there.
You get the picture?
Well, just as I approached this scene, the dog was in full flight on its way to that ball, his tail to me.
And the woman got the idea to hide on Rover!
She crouched and ran along the hidden side of the boards, in other words, out of sight of the dog who would, in about two seconds, begin its mach-3 run back to her.
She would not be there. But guess who would be?
And I was!
The congruence of my proximity could not have been more felicitous!
The man fired the ball hard and high and the dog was already on his way.
Our eyes met.
Here was this golden flying beast, the ball sailing over its head and its tongue flapping clear to his ribs and an amazing thing happened. Even in that flurry of motion I could instantly see the profound dog-confusion in those eyes.
“Hey, hey, HEY, HEY! Where’s what’s-her-name what is going on here I don’t know who that is but the deal is I keep running because I’m a dog….” and then CLOMP the ball was in his slobbery jowls.
Rover dead in his tracks as I kept right on walking.
Sound or scent caused the dog to look to his left where his rightful ball-partner crouched behind the boards, giggling. And with a triumphant bounding frolic he leaped to her side, positively overjoyed that whatever metamorphism it had just imagined was not permanent!
I kept on walking, filling my lungs with autumn air and wondering if anything in the history of the world had ever been as quickly considered and forgotten as I myself was, in that dog’s mind.