74. The Lines are Drawn

Dear Tera,

There are some who believe that extra-terrestrial beings leave their marks in the wheat fields of remote places.  There are some who believe visitors from another planet wrote the hieroglyphs on the monuments of ancient civilizations. 

And there may be those who believe that space creatures left the white marks in the middle of the field at Windsor Park.

Very strange geometric shapes:  rectangles and circles and quarter circles.  Last week the lines were very bright in the sun.  This week, after the rains, they have faded in the grass. 

Perhaps the visitors have gone away and won’t come back, some might think.  But I know different.

I know that it was not extra-terrestrial beings who marked up our park.  There are some advantages to being an old dog who has been around the block a few times, and has traveled far and wide and whose world is not circumscribed between Windsor Park and Bank Street.

So my advice to the younger dogs is this:  don’t worry – at least not about humanoids from outer space.  Worry, instead, about the humanoids with whom we co-exist in this neighbourhood.

For the white lines are nothing more than the boundaries of a soccer pitch they’ve built to replace the old baseball diamond.  I for one liked the diamond.  Liked it even better when they stripped the gravel away and left a field of mud, mud, glorious mud. 

But humanoids can’t be trusted to let a good thing be and, before long, the sod was rolled out over the dirt, and now the white lines have been painted on the grass.

But listen, friend, and tell this to all our colleagues:  we are going to have to make sure our humanoids are more vigilant than ever before.

I know they try hard.  They clean up after us daily.  In the spring they gather to harvest up any poops that might have been left behind over the winter.

But with this new development, the peaceful coexistence between dog owners and non-dog owners, that has been the hallmark for at least the eleven years that I’ve trotted the paths, will be more fragile than ever.

I know what these soccer players are like.  They have less tolerance than most humanoids for finding dog poop in the grass.  They regard us as mere beasts who have less of a right to the park than they do. 

And we, for our part, tolerate them as mere guests who are welcome to enjoy our domain from time to time, provided they don’t bowl over the younger children and smaller dogs with their game.

But beast is beast and guest is guest, and never the twain shall meet.

Our ability to live together as one happy community is going to be put to the test this summer, but I have every hope we can rise to the challenge.  After all, we’ve made accommodations before.

Take, for example, the cats who live in the house alongside the park.  They are house cats, and they don’t go outside often.  But when they do, they are leashed to the fence or to the deck.

Now, I used to think that any cat on a leash tied to a post was not a cat.  It was a tether ball.  But I learned to curb my instincts.  And those cats have been living with us now for three years. 

But it would take only one dog to ruin this peace.  And it will take only one dog owner to stir up a crisis with the soccer players by not cleaning up after us.  I for one am going to make sure that Alpha is watching me when I do my business, especially if it’s in the middle of the strange white lines.

                                                            Vigilant to ensure his vigilance,