The dogs chased an armadillo this morning, well, the three who aren’t ancient and infirm did. About five-thirty, predawn, thick fog hanging in the air, Wrex Wyatt, the only true hunter in the pack, cornered the possum-on-the-half shell under Mom’s patio steps. Budlore Amadeus and Jessica Elizabeth soon joined the chase. Wrex got the armadillo out, but it escaped, and then hid under the steps of the shed. That’s when the two male dogs decided breakfast was more important than hunting, and they retired from the battle.
There was a time when Bud would have to be dragged away from something like this, but voice commands are enough now. Wrex is nine, and he’s not willing to put a lot into it either. Lilith Anne, Magnolia Queen, doesn’t even look anymore. At twelve, she’s just trying to make it outside to pee, and then back in to eat. Bud has been here five years, so he’s pushing seven or eight himself. Only Jessica is young.
I remember when a girl in high school told me she was pregnant. I knew her, knew her family, and for a moment in time I wondered how something that like could happen. But the reason for a pregnancy to occur are as many and as ancient for dogs to hunt armadillos in the fog. The primal urges we see in children and in dogs sometimes are shocking but that is only because we aren’t paying attention, and our memories are pushed aside for less perilous thoughts. I know parents now, whose daughters have arrived at pregnancy before high school graduation, and they are always stunned. I remember the front seat of my daddy’s car, with some underage high school girl underneath me, both of us knowing better, but neither of us, at that moment, willing or able to stop. Pan out, overhead, five hundred miles straight up, and if a point of light appeared for every young couple making that same mistake, or entering that rite of passage, the earth would look like a supernova.
The older members of the pack are fed, I eat breakfast, then go out to look for Jessica who still has not returned. I find her on her way back in, panting, muddy, but grinning. Whether she made the kill or not isn’t an issue at all, but Jessica went on a hunt, and the thrill of the chase drives her more than bloodlust.
Teenagers do a lot of the same things for the same reasons.
I’ve lost track of the girl I loved in high school. She was The One, and everything I ever wanted, and now decades have come and gone. Dogs have come here as puppies and been buried as ancient animals, their bodies returned to the earth, gray muzzled and stiff of hips. Later today, I will toss a dead armadillo over the fence, or fill the hole it dug, and life will continue.
Somewhere out there today, a girl will tell her parents she is pregnant, and life will go on, just as it always has.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
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