THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Evangeline – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I begin today’s entry, dear reader, with the opening line of Evangeline because it is fitting for my topic. Near my grandparents’ home is a wonderful nature trail around a lake, called Eagle Pond. The trail is cut through a forest of majestic pines which all but obscure daylight from reaching the ground. The trails circle the lake, with steep side paths going down to its shore at various intervals. For a pug, or any other dog for that matter, this spot is heaven on earth. To hike these trails, savoring the rich scent of earth, pine boughs, humus, decaying tree branches, moss, and dog leavings is overwhelming. Our first visit so stimulated Lizzie and me that we couldn’t even make it half way around the lake.
Yesterday, in the late afternoon, Grandma took us to Eagle Pond. Storm clouds were gathering, the sky was darkening, and a few drops of rain fell as we began our hike. It was in this close and ominous atmosphere that I felt most closely connected to my primal roots (literally and figuratively since we are so close to the ground). Untethered, I like to explore off the main trail because experience has taught me that treasures abound in these areas. I am a fearless and independent explorer, as most of you already know. Lizzie, that silly creature, likes to shadow me, but occasionally she, too, gets caught up in a particular scent and loses sight of me. I had to laugh at her yesterday when I saw her trotting ahead on the trail before realizing I wasn’t with her. She gave a quick jump in the air, spun around, and ran back to me. What a twit! Her vain attempt at self-recovery was even more pathetic.
We met up with only a few other dogs – large labs and retrievers who had been swimming – and of course they were impressed by my confidence and masculinity. Owners always struggle with these dogs, trying to regain their control, because after meeting me they don’t wish to leave me. I, however, take only a passing interest in them since they aren’t particularly clever or inventive. They tend to run about wildly… panting, sniffing, retrieving, and trying to play.
By the time we reached the end of the trail, rain was falling steadily, and Lizzie and I were ready to collapse. At home, Grandma fixed us a wonderful dinner of kibbles, squash, and egg so that we could recover our strength.It was an early evening for yours truly.
I will think of Eagle Pond fondly and sadly every time Lizzie and I are taken out for a walk in Manhattan.
P.S. These are poor photos today because Grandma just had her cell phone, but at least you can sense the majesty and scale of this forest.