Predawn might be a bit misleading; it was actually five o’clock this morning when I took the Mighty Dachshund out to drain. Despite having slipped on my L.L. Bean camp mocs, I stayed on the porch and let her go to the end of the leash to drain in the rain. It was only sprinkling in reality, but she’s like a cat and is offended by falling rain (and baths), so she did as she often does at such times and went under the bumper of the truck to drain in the dry. In foul weather, I often stay on the edge of the porch and let her handle the weather on her own. If I quit mowing the lawn during the warm months, there would probably be a thin jungle of grass and weeds around the porch from the effects of all the liquid fertilizer that’s been drained there.
After finishing her drain, the pooch jumped back up on the porch and gave a good shake, just in case a few drops of rain fell on her between the edge of the porch and the cover of the bumper. I turned off the flashlight, since the street light, 200 feet away along the country road, gave us just enough light to navigate the dark porch. My dad had the street light installed after someone stole an entire truck load of lumber one dark stormy night 50 years ago when the old sawmill was still here. My wife feels it’s worth the extra $15 every other month for the security it provides, so I continue to keep it.
When we got to the door of the house, I told the pooch to “get on the rug” (welcome mat), while I sat down in the porch swing. The rain hadn’t come in much on the porch, but the cool concrete had a sheen to where it had pulled moisture from the warmer moist air. I figured the pooch would not only be warmer on the mat, but would stay dry as well. It wasn’t especially warm for a guy in his skivvies and no T-shirt sitting there in the swing on the last night of February (first morning of March, actually), but it was bearable, even with the breeze that I was actually thankful for, since I knew it would keep away the mosquitoes.
The street light gave just enough illumination that we could see if any critter invaded the lawn. I kept an eye out for coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions, along with strange dogs. Not having a firearm with me, I would duck quickly inside with the dog, if such a creature showed up. Were it a coyote or a mountain lion, I’d probably return with a gun, but without the dog. Bobcats and dogs are okay with me so I’d leave them alone.
The night of rain had everything thoroughly soaked, so the bottom of the tree limbs and the tops of most other things glistened like diamonds in the darkness from the reflections of the street light. As the rain picked up, I could see shiny little eruptions in the water puddles of the driveway where the raindrops hit. The rain kept building until it was a downpour, but the breeze wasn’t quite strong enough, nor from the right direction to allow the rain to reach us, so we watched and listened to the wind and the falling rain. Even in the darkness, I could see the Mighty Dachshund’s sides quiver as she breathed in a staccato rhythm to scent whatever the breeze brought to her nostrils.
Eventually, she looked over her shoulder at me and stood up, her signal that it was time for her to go check on the missus. We shared a cookie before she resumed her sentry duty by my wife’s bed and I returned upstairs to mine. It was still raining when we repeated the drill later in the daylight. © 2017