Monday, April 23, 2007


Today is the fourth day off on a new work schedule and it's proving to be a day filled with sloth and observation. I drove down to Tellico Lake with the boat this morning to see if the bass were biting. I am not a good fisherman by any standards and expected to just throw lure's out into the calm water near the Fort at Fort Loudoun State Park. Much to my surprise I quickly caught four bass of the Spotted variety. I couldn't believe it. Another two hours produced two more. They all were returned to the water carefully and with respect. The wind picked up and the white caps appeared. Time to haul it in. Besides, I missed Douglas. On the way back toward home, I noticed a little brown half starved puppy along the road. I stopped but could not entice him to come to me.
When I left this morning, I forgot my camera and missed some great Sand Piper shots. They are in migration mode right now, according to Janet. Hopefully I'll see more when I return to the lake. Actually, I have returned. Douglas and Happy are with me and we are all three sitting on a hill looking down onto our boat that is beached and tied off on a tree snag.
I had always wanted a eighteen foot fiberglass center console bay boat. I thought and still do think they are the prettiest boats on the water. But I opted for the Lowe eighteen foot VPT 1860 semi Jon boat. This boat can travel over two feet of water and can be dragged up onto any beach. The fancy fiberglass boats would be gouged and scratched by now; and maybe worse. The 90 horsepower Mercury I opted to install allows rapid travel in as close to silence as possible. Four stroke engines are great. The big 90 horsepower engine is capable of pushing the boat at a constant 45 miles per hour with me alone. Add one Douglas and for some reason it's a chore to achieve speeds above 40 miles per hour. Well, he's a big boy.
Douglas has just come out of the water below me and is standing, head turned up, toward me, ears up and eyes wide. He seems to be waiting for some action from me that will allow him to react in some dog way. He is getting older now and his demeanor is starting to reflect a mildness he never had before. He will now lay down beside me here after a brief spurt of activity. Before, when younger, he would roam about constantly on the move. He still has "happy feet" but he stops them more often now. I love it when he stays by me. He does honer to me by wanting to be with me. It is his way of expressing total trust and devotion. I still am amazed by his strength and untiring energy. I find it difficult to believe that a body and frame of that size is able to house such dynamic forces and strength. I delight in watching him run. His huge paws strike the earth in perfect harmony with each other. The shoulder blades protrude vertically with his forward leg thrusts, then disappear somewhere within him. At full run his rear feet somehow can be extended all the way up and under his chest, paused for a split second there before hammering down onto the ground with solid thuds and finding purchase there for the mighty forward thrust that instantly follows. His golden body flows over logs and boulders. How can he navigate at top speed, over forest debris, ravines, boulders and streams without ever making an error. He plants four feet precisely on target each and every time. He is perfection. And he is young.
I have taken dog's for granted all my life. They were just---------there. Now, I literally live with dogs. Douglas, Happy and old Sigh share a 20X60 foot remodeled warehouse room with me. I installed a dog door so that they can come and go as they please. They are interesting to watch. Each is unique in his own way. They seem to do what I do. When I lay down to sleep; they all position themselves in their places and lay down to sleep. Shortly after the lights go out, their individual sounds can be heard. Douglas is a dreamer. He will make puppy sounds and sometimes his legs will move as if he is running. Happy has a shrill squeak to her exhale. She sometimes dreams too. Old Sigh makes all sorts of sounds constantly. She snores loudly all night. She makes snore sounds that remind me of a giant zipper being unzipped under water. I'm glad she snores. It lets me know she is content and happy. She deserves it. Her life up until two years ago was living hell. She was found by Janet at a rest stop down on route 411 South by Vonore. She was so starved she could hardly move. A quarter of one ear was torn off entirely indicating a hard fight had occurred at some point earlier in her life. The vet said her hips still have shot gun pellets in them. Her pelvis had been broken and her hip pops out of its socket from time to time. But she has been brought back to health with good food and a lot of care. She is fat and lazy now. Sigh likes to lay in the sun and sleep before retiring inside to the cool room ------------------to sleep. I do take her on dog outings with Douglas and Happy. She is a sweetheart.
Both yesterday and today have been perfect Tennessee days. I did not go to the lake yesterday because I do not like to deal with all the people. A calm mirror surfaced lake at seven in the morning on a Sunday is turned into wakes, white caps and froth by noon due to all the pleasure boat traffic. There is no peace on the lakes on a weekend. The boat ramp I used today told the story of yesterday. I backed the boat trailer to the water through enough trash to fill a pick up truck. I can not imagine how people can discard food bags and trash onto pristine areas and not feel it is wrong. It amazes me; even dirty baby diapers. I think what needs to happen is ----nothing. Leave the trash on the boat ramps and docks for an entire year. Let the litter bugs have to back their high priced boats through their own garbage. Today alone, at the Toqua boat ramp on Tellico Lake, I saw the above mentioned baby diaper, a half eaten chicken, napkins of all colors, Havoline oil cans, charcoal dumped on the pavement, countless McDonald's bags, old tennis shoes, a belt, a shirt and uncountable pop cans (the most common being Coke, followed secondly by Mountain Dew.) What is so hard about taking these trash items home? The answer is laziness. The second part of the answer is that they know someone will be by in the morning to clean it up. What happened to personal pride? But then, these are people for the most part, that haven't a clue what the Alamo is all about or where Vietnam is or what happened there for that matter. And guess what. Someday there will be a generation who will not have a clue what 9-11 is all about. And they will litter too.
Enough ranting and raving! I need to get my two friends on the boat and out of here. Well, maybe just a short hike before departure.
A Powerful Lunge
Happy the Bullet