73. Playoff Season

Dear Tera,

Is April the cruelest month?  I seem to recall, just a few weeks ago, someone suggesting this.  Something about late season snowfalls, and more slush that we’ve seen all winter.  Humanoids don’t appreciate snow – at least not at this time of year.  

But on days like today, they seem to forget all about that.  On days like this, spring seems eternal.  This grass will always be just turning green.  These crocuses will bloom forever, and the daffodils and tulips will continue to await.

This is the season when the humanoids return to the back yard, and they fire up the barbecues so that the whole neighbourhood smells of dinner.

Season of basketball in the park, and Sporty, Sunshine and the Pup shoot hoops leaving their bicycles lying in the grass. 

Season of rakes and brown garden bags.  The happy villagers return to pick the poops and sing their harvest songs.

            Sixteen tons, and waddaya scoop?

            Another bag filled with doggie poop.

            St. Peter don’t you call me,

            I’m too tired to bark,

            I’m cleaning up from winter

            In the Windsor Park.

Ah spring! And yet, I seem to recall that we had that snowfall a few weeks back.  Yes, I distinctly remember it now.  Dumped on us overnight and into the next day.  It’s gone now.  Who cares?

But with spring comes the playoff season, and Lily and I are eager to take on Alpha at our favourite game.  All winter, Lily and I honed our skills at fooling Alpha.  We have perfected our “split the defence” strategy, and we are on a winning streak. 

It’s very simple really:  just a matter of walking off in opposite directions the moment the Alpha gets distracted.  Lily and I have it down to an exact science.  We know the precise second when Alpha ceases to observe our every move and, with the precision of a parade ground drill, we divide and conquer.

You score extra points if you can disappear for a moment from Alpha’s sight lines.  If both dogs can manage to wander out of sight before Alpha has finished his conversation, his phone call, or his reverie, score triple points.

This is, of course, a variation of the game Alpha used to play with me when I was a younger dog.  Well do I remember how he used to laugh when he managed to hide from me while I was distracted by a squirrel, a new dog, or an intriguing scent in the grass.  

He used to run ahead and scurry behind the pine trees by the parking lot, doubling back so his scent would lead me past him.  He used to hide behind cars and, once the skating season had passed, vault over the hockey boards, out of sight but within scent.

Well, he’s not much for vaulting lately.  Just as well.  I certainly can’t leap over the boards to catch up with him any more.  But I can hide even more effectively than he ever could – he with his limited olfactories, and his aurels that sometimes seem more attuned to what he hears inside his head.

And so we make sure he has to find us.  Calling to us doesn’t count.  Lily has perfected her airhead technique where she pretends she’s just so pretty and charming that she is oh so easily distracted from attending to his every command. 

And me?  I pretend that my hearing isn’t what it used to be, and I wander away on slow arthritic legs – until I’m out of sight, of course.  Then I explore at my leisure.

Between the two of us, we can send him stomping back and forth, trying to round us up, whoopee tie little doggie.  It’s a great game.  Try it sometime.

                                                            Springing eternal,