Haibun for an encounter

Before it got too hot, I took the dogs out for a walk around the newly mown meadows. Yesterday our walk was curtailed because Trixie followed us and a cat in a field is fair game as far as dogs are concerned. The day before we had to double back because of rabbits, the day before that the marsh beaver family was out by the pond and they send Redmond berserk. Bix doesn’t like them much either. I had great difficulty controlling Redmond who yelled his head off and had to be thumped.

Today, before it got hot, and after Trixie had come back in from seeing Imelda off, and I had checked that the marsh beavers weren’t in sight, we set off. Sniffed two dead snakes, juveniles. One at the edge of the meadow, sliced in half by the mower, the other beneath the trees, half-eaten.

Deeper beneath the willows, where the mower doesn’t go, we startled a hen pheasant. She didn’t fly away, but hissed and fluttered at the dogs who were surprised and excited but not murderous—the long grass in front of us was seething and cheeping with pheasant chicks. Bix got tangled up in Redmond’s lead, yelped, threw himself into the sedge and refused to get up. Redmond, non-plussed, let himself be untangled and led away. At a guess, they have not been used for bird-hunting.

We left the pheasant in peace to gather up her chicks. I’d like to think she’ll look for somewhere safe from fox and feral cat, but it’s not in her nature. At least I can keep the dogs away.

Relentless heat
broken grass throws no shade
well water recedes.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

20 thoughts on “Haibun for an encounter”

  1. Your observations made me smile–I was imagining you with the dogs (and other animals).
    We’re having another thunderstorm. It’s odd that we seem to be getting them in the morning now instead of evening, and a lot for June, it seems to me.

    1. I think I’m going to stop taking them out on my own. They are difficult to manage when they catch sight of something interesting and this place swarms with ‘interesting’ stuff. Finbar never seemed to notice. He had probably been used for racing not hunting, so all the little furry things didn’t interest him much.
      I saw a map of the heat wave that you’re expecting (unless you already have it). I’m not surprised it’s stormy!

      1. If daughter is by herself, she has one dog on a leash–this in in her fenced backyard–because she once had to separate them in a fight over some creature.
        It’s actually cool right now, but I guess the heat is rolling in. It’s been going on for a few hours now. Not terrible, violent storms here, but thunder, lightning, and rain. We’re supposed to have beautiful weather over the weekend though.

      2. Her pitbull must be hard to control once she gets an idea into her head. I can understand that she takes precautions.
        I hope the temperature stays bearable for you They’re predicting 106°F for us tomorrow. Far too hot.

      3. They are both big dogs. Rusty, the old man dog (I keep typing god), has mellowed some now, but I remember once when it was only him, and I had to hold him back against a little yapping dog that some stupid woman had let run without a leash. But Helena has very powerful jaws. . .
        Oh that is WAY too hot. I think you and dogs might have to lie in a tub of water all day.

      4. I got an easy walk harness for Finbar and it works. I couldn’t take him out safely without it. Got the same for these two and it stops them running. Doesn’t stop them jumping and getting lead and legs tangled though… Helena probably wouldn’t have that problem.
        The dogs don’t need any encouragement to flake out. They are Spanish, used to long siestas 🙂

    1. Not exactly. ‘Seeing her off’ means chasing her away. Trixie usually leaves other cats alone. She’s small and not as young as she was. Imelda though is tiny, which probably brings out the queen cat bully in Trixie.

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