Oh, wait... we're talking about that Cold Spring. As in the town upstate on the Hudson where my friends Jane and Heather and Dorrie and I went hiking a couple of weekends ago, which if I'd been any kind of good blogger I would have written about immediately, and I would have taken more than four pictures. Well, yes.
Seriously, it was a sublime day. The occasion was roughly Jane's birthday, and there were presents, but mostly it was a good excuse to spend time together and go somewhere outside of our regular orbits. It was an easy drive, just over an hour and almost all of it pretty, and Dorrie didn't throw up. While it was overcast and windy - we ended up turning back before hitting the trail summit because it actually felt dangerous, and it crossed my mind that Dorrie, at 50 pounds, could conceivably blow away - the day was still a beautiful and dramatic one, and we got a lot of hiking and bushwacking in at lower altitudes.
When I was little I watched Lassie obsessively. I'll never be able to hear "Greensleaves" without picturing that gorgeous dog launching herself neatly over the fence like a heat-seeking missile in her mission to reach Timmy. Probably all he'd done was call, "Here, Lassie! Here, girl!" and off she went.
I wanted a dog like Lassie more than anything else in the universe, a companion and protector who would trot at my heel and from time to time look up to see what I might want of her, the way Lassie looked at Timmy. We had a dog, a beautiful and unruly longhaired German Shepherd named Princess. But she was neither a companion nor a protector and she certainly couldn't care less what anyone wanted. She had done a week at obedience school as a puppy and my parents figured that was that - discipline and setting limits wasn't really their strong suit, as I would happily prove to them a few years later. So unless we were in our fenced back yard, Princess and I weren't going anywhere together. No one could walk her except my father - she once dragged my mother half a block and cracked two of her ribs - and she had to be sequestered when anyone came to the house for any reason. She was a sweet girl in her way, but Princess was not the dog I hungered for.
Dorrie is, though. Thirty-odd years later and I've finally got my loyal companion, and nothing feeds the fantasy fulfilled better than hiking through the woods together. My sweet little Milo was the most charismatic dog on earth, but I’m not sure I would have ever let him off-leash. He could go like a streak, and - granted, he was young - I never got that dependable vibe from him. Dorrie is faithful with every cell of her body. Off-leash she’s blissful, trotting one way and another, exploring, following scents but never straying far, and always popping up and bounding back if I call or clap. There’s something deeply peaceful about walking through the woods with friends, talking and poking at things with sticks, with a good dog ambling along beside us.
After we’d finished with Breakneck Ridge (seriously - that’s what it’s called) we noodled around for a while in the town of Cold Spring. Main Street’s main industry seems to be a series of cavernous antique/junk stores, rooms upon rooms of all sorts of cool knick-knacks. The places all seem to be struggling right now - this has to have been a long, cold winter for anyone dependent on a tourist trade. We did our bit to shore up the local economy - every place we went to was refreshingly dog-friendly, and Dorrie really seemed to enjoy sniffing all the old stuff - and walked around. I even ran into someone I knew, a guy I used to work with who departed for greener pastures, so we had a dog-patting and business-card-exchanging moment.
At the end of the day Dorrie was so exhausted she actually climbed in the car of her own volition, which as far as I know has never happened before, and curled up on her dog bed in the back. We took a bit of a scenic route home inadvertently, but it was all good, more time to talk and we got to see some of the less glamorous Rockland County waterfront. OK, a lot of the less glamorous Rockland County waterfront. But it’s good to know these things. Dorrie slept the whole way home.
So yes, that Cold Spring was as good as it gets. The rest of this cold spring I could do without, honestly.
But my tomato seedlings are sprouting! The cherry tomatoes first, followed by their Early Girl sisters.
And last weekend I planted a romaine mix, a greens mix, and snap peas - they’re under a bunch of bird netting, which is not so much to keep birds out as to discourage Shakey, who thinks he’s got the world’s best litter boxes there. I’ve even planted a $12.99 rosebush from Home Depot - as with the weather, so far it’s all thorns and no blooms. But even in a cold spring, hope springs eternal.
And here’s a gratuitous shot of Francis’ very handsome whiskers.