Last night, or rather early this morning, the Cousin Canines decided everyone should be awakened. Usually, if one gets up the other follows, but they’ll settle back down after a couple of minutes or so. Not last night. Last night was special. Last night they circled the bed from one side to the other making wild hippo noises and looking for appendages to lick. Lilith Magnolia bailed and went to sleep on the sofa, which I really wish she wouldn’t do. Tyger Linn decided that I needed to be defended against the Cousin Canines and sat on my head. Okay, let’s get up and put some dogs out.
Until last night, or rather early this morning, there had been no cold weather to be had. At three I think the temperature was somewhere between negative shrinkage and Smurf bits for those of us trying to urinate outside. Why must men urinate outside? It’s the only place on this earth we can pee and not have to worry about leaving the seat up.
There. Now you know.
Tyger Linn has rocketed into the very darkest part of the back acre and the Cousin Canine are most certainly out there with her. An owl or a pair of them have taken up back there and I hear them at night. Tonight they’ve fallen silent with the invasion of the Cousins and Tyger Linn. It’s far too damn cold to be nude and barefoot outside but I love the way late at night sounds deep in the woods. Something is out there. Tyger Linn is out there looking for whatever it is and I hope like hell it isn’t looking for Tyger Linn, but at the end of the day, and that was hours ago, Tyger Linn likes the deep darkness better than anything else. Lilith Magnolia pokes me in the butt with her nose. This is a reminder that she is a Pibble Princess, and as such, shall not be kept outside in the cold longer than it takes for her to relieve her bladder.
We go back inside and the Cousins come lumbering back a minute later, but no Tyger Linn. I go out on the deck and listen, because seeing Tyger Linn in the woods is difficult under the very best conditions and this isn’t them. Bert did this. Bert would go out into the woods late at night and I think more than anything else it’s to show the night creatures there’s someone else out there. Neither Marco Ladakh or Greyson Charlotte have that thing going and Lilith rather just sit it all out, inside, preferable on a cushioned surface. Bert went into the rain and the wind and the darkness was his favorite place to be. Somewhere out there is a striped little girl following in his paw prints. It’s below freezing but I have to stay and listen for her. Can she smell my scent from where she is? I think so and that means she knows I’m looking for her. It won’t matter. Tyger Linn has something to say to the night and it will damn well listen to her. The coyotes will know she has been around at this hour and they’ll know I have too. They’ll nod and ease a little further away from where they know we tread.
The male body will migrate away from cold weather. I can feel my skin tighten in the cold wind and I have to retreat. My teeth are chattering and the same house I had to sleep under two blankets now feels very, very, warm. I get back into bed and wait. The Cousins bed down and Lilith comes to be petted. Tyger Linn is still out there.
I find all sorts or tracks in the sand around the house but very rarely inside the fenceline. You’ve got to be determined or stupid to cross hot wires to get inside of a Dog Habitat, but it’s been done before. I do not think the Coyotes will do it simply because there are not only a lot of dogs here but large ones. I think Tyger Linn, smallest of my pack, scares them a lot more than anything else with me. Large is scary as hell in the canine world but invisibility and audacity and surprise means cunning. I had a submariner tell me that they surfaced well within Soviet territory one night. They broke out one of those fast rubber boats and scooted up to a Soviet warship at anchor and hung an American flag on the side of it with a bottle of bourbon then left again. That’s had to scare the hell out of a lot of people for all the right reasons.
Sleep overtakes me and when I wake up Tyger hasn’t returned. I find my sweats in the darkness and get dressed. I hear the doggie door get rammed as Tyger arrives at speed and I know she’s home again. The Cousins dance around me as I turn the lights on but I have to see if this little girl is bloodied or had bloodied someone else. She’s clean and cold. Tyger Linn gets under the covers with me and wiggles with excitement. Something has happened. Someone came close. Tyger Linn went into the darkness and something was there. But now she’s back and in a few minutes, my striped little girl is breathing deep of the sleep.
An hour to go before I have to get up and go to work and I drift away into sleep again. I have a lot of troubles in my life but security isn’t on the top of the list. The darkness holds no terrors that can match the heart of what goes forth from my home. I have another wanderer. I have another Night Stalker. Once again, my pack has someone who goes out when no one goes out and stays out when no one stays out, and returns only when the job, whatever the job is, is finished.