Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Intrepid Three

Anna, Basher and Gus do have a kind of Enid Blyton ring to them don't they?
Well on Friday the two dogs and I had quite an adventure, as I had to wade waist-deep into the Tyne to rescue Basher. It's a long story, but I saved a trout from one of the puddles left behind by the river after recent flooding and without thinking stupidily threw it straight back into the river.

To my horror Basher, thinking it was a stick, jumped in after it and was promptly washed away.

I thought she's drowned, as I saw her being pushed under by the current, but after tearing downstream through nettles and briars I found her washed up on some gravel in the middle of the river.

There was no-one was around and I had no phone on me, so I tested the depth with a big stick and found a bar of gravel under the surface and walked out to her, put her on the lead, which is a big chunky thing, and got her back to the bank, where she managed to scrabbled up. Walking through powerful water like that is really scary, it seems to affect your vision and balance as it tears past you at terrifying rate.

Basher was one grateful dog! I was worried she might have ingested water, but she's fine, though I now have a stinking cold.

Changing the subject now, do you ever have a spell when you notice a name or something and then it just keeps occuring?

I'm watering a friend's garden just now, a small task given the rain we're getting, but I noticed that she has this poem framed in her kitchen:

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

And I've been reading a book on corvids Crow Country by Mark Cocker, which is an excellent natural history book, with lyrical writing, and then the newpaper this weekend gave a crit on another book in a similar vein, this time about about living with crows/rooks Corvus: A life with birds by Ester Woolfson, and she too mentions a Mary Oliver piece of writing.

So corvids and poets are featuring heavily in my life lately. And I now want to read more of Mary Oliver's writing and the Woolfson book.

I really like it when these things happen,as it makes you feel like you're touching the circularity of life.


Blogger BarbaraS said...

Wow, your adventures in the river sound so frightening. But your common sense saw you all safe!

I really like that Mary Oliver poem, thanks for showing it.

10:06 am  
Blogger PI said...

Never mind the circulatory of life! What are you thinking of wading waist deep in swirling water? It all has a nightmare quality about it starting with the instinctive throwing of the fish. I suppose the panic I feel when I hit the wrong button is a fraction of what you must have felt. Praise be you are both safe.

9:58 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

I thought long and hard about it, but it felt like the dog had placed her trust in me and I could never have face N. if I'd drowned her dog.

It was quite easy to do once I'd made the decision, and I know that strech of water well, so I could visualise where the "shallows" usually were, and I didn't take a step without measuring the depth first.

It was only afterwards I thought about what might have been.

11:21 am  
Blogger Kay said...

I am so glad you got Basher back again! What a fright!

2:43 pm  

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