Earlier today, we took the dog up on the hill and threw a sodden drooly tennis ball for him. Over and over, he never gets tired, though his lolloping return slowly decelerates after awhile. We could feel the wind scudding across the hill. We could see across the fields, plowed and planted in great brown ridges with green already springing up everywhere. The grass has zoomed up high this past week and it's not even been that warm. The wind tugged at our jackets and flung my hair about. I could feel the pull in my shoulder as I stretched and wheeled, back and OUT to throw as far as I could. It's been a long time since the softball days and I'm out of practice.
The dog was in motion each time before the ball left our hands. He sprang in great bounds and plowed into and over the ball, tossing up last year's dried grass from underneath his feet as he rolled and slid and came up with the ball every time. Martin played pranks on the dog and laughed hilariously each time: faking the throw. Once he made the dog stay while he walked to the edge of the hill (it's man-made with a steep grassy slope that the kids sled on in the winter) and set the ball down. "Fetch!" he yelled and Mental went flying for the ball, and predictably, over the edge with it. Up he popped again, 2 seconds later, the ball distended and squashed in his jaw as he chomped it and came happily back to us: mission accomplished.
He comes up to me, where I'm sitting on the sofa reading and thrusts his sleek head under my arm, pushing his big body closer to mine and wagging his tail while I scruffle up the fur on his neck and pound on his side with affection. He's only a 4-day dog for us this time, but he's already burrowed his way into all our hearts.
Later: the moon is like a giant silver dollar in the sky, glowing against the blue and lightening it up. The moonman's face is stark and staring; pale and surprised as he always is. Somehow I feel comforted, knowing he's up there, watching over me.