Birchwood

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

For Thanksgiving, we headed down to New Jersey to my parents’ house, which gave us another opportunity to reunite Jax with his brother Ojo. Andy and I were busy handling dogs at the crowded woods and beach, so all the pictures were taken by my mom.

Ojo’s on the far left in this picture, and his tennis ball instincts are clearly just as well developed as those of his brother. For those of you who can’t tell our dogs apart as well as I can, Comet’s in the middle, and Jax is on the right.

(Photo credit: Donna Tippy)

It was a bit of a challenge to get three dogs in frame, especially with the mediocre lighting the dull Thanksgiving morning gave us, but my mom gave it the ol’ college try. There may be a little blur on Ojo here, but honestly, who wouldn’t be running at top speed with a vicious dog like Jax in pursuit?

(Photo credit: Donna Tippy)

Ojo also got his first swim in today. His family doesn’t have the same easy access to safe waters that we do, so he hasn’t had the same chances to get wet in the cold weather. To his credit, though, he crashed into that cold lake like an old hand.

(Photo credit: Donna Tippy)

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Leaping


There’s something about late afternoon light that makes a red Golden light up like he’s on fire, and as the days grow colder I still feel a warmth tingle through my limbs when I see those streaks of flame light up the woods.
My limbs, and the quivering fire that ever plays through them, for reasons, most wondrous;
Existing, I peer and penetrate still,
Content with the present—content with the past,
By my side, or back of me, Eve following,
Or in front, and I following her just the same.
              -Walt Whitman
                “Leaves of Grass (17)”
A few days after that late afternoon picture, we visited my folks in New Jersey and took a quick walk around their local lake. My dad obligingly threw sticks for them so I could try to get some classic action shots. The beach drops away slowly, so the dogs get several leaps in each time before finally swimming.

This is the same trip we took a little less than a year ago with a younger Comet and a healthy Gus. I was struck, as I always am, by the idea of cycles and circles, of losing and gaining, of how our endeavors are sometimes as silly and as satisfying as chasing a stick.

Comet showed excellent reach and great athleticism in getting through the water. He’s developed into quite the muscular young athlete.

In fact, Comet’s vet spent a couple of minutes admiring his musculature at a checkup the other day. I was oddly proud.

Jax, for his part, really learned how to maximize that last contact with the sand in order to fly back out of the water.


Comet’s not too shabby either. I love that you can see the divot from his last leap even as he’s well into the next.

Swimming season for humans is well over, but the dogs will swim until the water is completely frozen over.



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Shaking It Off


Barack Obama was elected president of the United States today. I don’t talk politics much on here, but I’ve also made no secret of my feelings for the Bush administration. I’ve been disappointed since the election that put him in office, and I’ve gone from unhappy to disgusted over the last eight years. But history will surely Bush-bash thoroughly over the next few centuries, so there’s no reason for me to do it here, no matter how badly I feel the need to shake him off.

Obama, however, has been my candidate since the primaries, and I’m overjoyed to see him elected.


The dogs and I took a trip down to New Jersey to visit my parents, and we all took a stroll around a lake near their house. The pictures are, obviously, out of order so far. At the end of the walk, the path crosses one of the town beaches, and despite the forty-degree weather, the dogs jumped right in. In this picture, before they jumped in, they certainly look plenty warm.

I borrowed my mom’s camera, a 12MP model one step up from my XTi, as well as her 100x400 lens. I got some great, crisp shots of them frolicking in the autumn woods. Echoes of Peter, Paul, and Mary there, but no mist today.


My dad threw a stick for them so I could stand at a better angle to catch some great action shots. The colors were just perfect, especially the turning leaves reflected on the water.

These photos also have a certain kind of Baywatch flair.

That’s Gus’s wake in the background, not a boat’s.


Gus, of course, will not be outdone in the swimming department. He almost looks like an aquatic animal sometimes. His eyes, as always, are locked on target.

Skilled hydrodynamics experts will, however, notice Comet’s wake ahead of Gus.

Speaking of aquatic mammals, I present Dolphin-Dog.

Satisfied-Dog: another species found on these shores.

After the lake, we went back to my parents’ house and I shot birds in the back yard with the 100x400. The lighting was great and the birds were cooperative, so the shots are pretty good.





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