He stopped so we could pass, and I shouted, "HEY, YOU TWO BIG-MOUTHED FIDDLEHEADS!" I barked at them. "THIS COUNTY PARK AIN'T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE TWO OF US!" I had no idea if that was true, but since Mom had brought a real authentic-looking cowboy hat for me to wear today, talking with old west sass was fun.
Yesterday I had a meeting with a bunch of collies, but Saturday meetings are different from the meetings that we have during the work week. First of all, you don't have to meet at the office and you can go somewhere more interesting than a conference room. When Mom let me out of the car yesterday, I saw a man and a dog waiting for me at the spot where the road ended and the woods began. When I got closer I could see that it was one of my collies, but I didn't know the dog.
It didn't really matter where I ran because everywhere was basically the same, so I ran everywhere to see what the sand looked like when I looked uphill at it, and downhill at it, and while at full speed, and close up at the end of my nose, and upside-down while rolling around on my back.
Mom and I have never been so badly matched as dance partners, so there are only so many places where Mom can walk with her elderly meatwad shuffle and I can frolic like a light-footed freight train. But I'm so starved for sprinting that even the old familiar places are exciting. When I smelled the beach coming, I whimpered a happy song and crawled up to the copilot's seat to look out the front window for all the dogs just waiting for me to chase them around in the sand.
Bodie started digging for gold while I supervised her work. Then, when she ran off to check if a puppy was worth bullying, I lay down in her hole, which was cool, and damp, and perfectly Oscar sized. For the next hour or so, we stayed in that spot, sunbathing or digging until a puppy came along that we could gang up on.
I looked skeptically at Mom's knee. It looked like it was already connected together, even if it was a little floppier than usual and hung a bit like a puppet's leg when she walked. "Are you sure that the vet isn't just having you on so that he can sell you a surgery?" I asked. "Those psychos really can't be trusted." All she said was, "I'm so sorry..."
We left the main trail and followed the footsteps and rock piles back to the secret passageway that would take us back down the cliff. The only problem was that the trail disappeared as if by magic. We found a pile of rocks wedged under an overhang like it was trying to tell us something, but we couldn't figure out what. We went back and forth over the same 1/10 of a mile of trail over and over, and couldn’t find anything trail-like anywhere; no packed-down snow, no shoe prints in the sand, no rock piles, not even a long stretch without things to climb over.
As we climbed higher, even the mountain we were on started to grow a little stubble of white dirt. It was funny to see the spikey desert plants and tumbleweeds sticking out of the white dirt like that. There was even white dirt as we came down into Roadrunner and Wily E Coyote country where cracks became canyons and the white dirt made the mountains look more like wedding cakes than muffin tops.
Because I'm a marathong coach, I know a loser's attitude when I hear one. I hadn't even had a chance to get bored and fall asleep yet. She jumped back on the dreadmill and ran another couple of steps, but it still sounded wrong, like the lub-dub in Mom's chest instead of her regular feet beat. After only a couple of seconds she stopped the dragon inside the dreadmill from roaring and sat on our bed. "I think it's really hurt," she said.