|Crowned in Clouds|
|Last of the Mist Lifts|
|Bobo Hunting Hoppers|
|Chocolate Dog in the Garden|
|Mourning Cloak Beauty|
Bobo ignores the steps, leaping off the porch. She runs to the back pasture to hunt hoppers and white butterflies. She's a white-speckled, dark-brown German Short-haired Pointer (GSP) with a gimp in her back leg that doesn't seem to still her ambitions. She hangs around and listens about the fifth time I call for her. She's not one to take off only because she believes she has to watch over her humans, frail as we are to her stern brown eyes.
Grendel, her brother, is a big beast of a GSP. Often people think he's a chocolate lab because he's big (75 pounds) and solid liver. Same color of brown as a lab, but different breed names for the color. Maybe GSPs are "liver" because they are pure protein, meaning endless energy. Unlike his sister, he's not content to hunt wee critters of the dry grass. He'd take down a cat or two at our neighbors place, so he's leashed at the ranch unless we have 100 feet of snow.
He's patient, though, standing at my legs as I water and Bobo trails after fluttering things. We finish the south side and I thread the hose through the fence. Not wanting to take Grendel back into the house because the sun is too glorious to be shut in, I decide to let him into my garden through the gate. The plants are hearty enough to survive a GSP, I hope. After unleashing him, I realize that some of my plants are bigger than Grendel--like my striped zucchini, the one that would sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger if it could talk.
Sniffing from corner to the next, Grendel eats a few cherry tomatoes until I call him over to where I'm raining hose-water on my rambling pumpkin vine with it's precious cargo of one. He obliges, stopping to lift his leg on the cluster of bindweed that grows between the shed and fence where I can't pull it easily. "Good dog," I tell him. Smart dog, to differentiate between fruit bearing plants and weeds. He's happy to roam.
As if to celebrate the freedom of an unleashed chocolate dog in a cheery Rocky Mountain garden where the sun shines yet another day, a chocolate butterfly alights upon the ground. Delicate wings open and shut, revealing cream edges and periwinkle dots. Turns out, our winged visitor is the Montana State Butterfly, the mourning cloak butterfly. It is a butterfly that over-winters in trees and likes nectar-bearing plants. It's just plain pretty and flits through that sunny space that is this moment.
This is what chocolate feels like if it could coat your soul.