Friday, November 04, 2005

We have an old dog who's sense of time is slipping. He woke me up at 2:00 a.m. whining to go outside. When I opened the door I heard dogs barking in the pasture, at least one low loud bark mixed with the high pitched yapping of smaller dogs. To a shepherd, these are not comforting sounds. They are the kind of sounds that mean sheep running in a panic through the fields and seeing vultures circling in the morning. After letting the old dog back in, I headed down through the barnyard with flashlight and rifle in hand. Four ewes and the llamas were waiting by the barnyard gate, agitated, but unharmed. After herding them through into the field closest to the house, I walked up the hillside, swinging the light over the fields as my eyes adjusted to the dark. The sound of the neighbors' dogs echoed off the hillside, but our trespassers had lapsed into silence. One quick glimpse of glowing eyes retreating towards the woodline, and they were gone. I waited for a while the under the night sky, moonless and star-filled. Finding Orion, then the Dippers and the Pleiades, I listened again. Hearing nothing, I headed back to the lights of home.