Monday, July 9, 2012

Clementine's Morning Walk

Every morning Clementine and I have our walk. We sneak into the field where they're bulldozing, digging up rocks, laying water lines for a new block of suburban houses before the noise of the yellow diggers gets going and we can pass unnoticed through the gaps made in the wire fences to keep folks like us out.

{baby self}

She jumps and runs, smelling her way and feeling all kinds of frisk and free, dipping her golden paws in muddy puddles and smiling at me like a naughty child, pink tongue hanging out sideways.

{relaxing on the terrace}
When we reach the end of the field she runs back on my whistle and grudgingly allows me to clip her red and white polka dot lead back on before we slide our way through the opening in the fence at the far side.

We then head through our neighborhood, a suburb of Montpellier as old as me, built on limestone hills in proximity to IBM and Dell, warehouses and car dealerships. Behind each residential street runs shaded, paved lanes for pedestrians. It is quite nice, walking behind all the shuttered houses, peeking over the tops of the walls onto sparkling swimming pools, shady terraces and clotheslines with colorful beach towels flying like pennants in the morning breeze.

Some of these paved paths empty onto double sized lots left open and planted with cypress and pine trees and randomly placed benches for taking a quick break. In the spring the poppies bloomed all over these open spots, along with dandelions and flowering weeds. Now the ground is covered in a carpet of wild, purple geraniums that bloom out from under a heavy tapis of pine needles.
We crunch and make our way over the flowers, needles and rocky ground.


There's one house that I try to avoid but that Clementine is drawn to; the house of her nemesis. He's a small, wiry guy, mostly white with black and brown spots, a terrier maybe, and he has a doggy door built into the fence. (it's really a stone wall like all the houses here but I'll call it a fence). P-Daddy calls him the 'bad elf' from Christmas time when they'd walk together and he'd run out and do his bullying. And the funny, little guy is a bad elf, a bully through and through.

The other day he was out on the street, prancing and preening, sniffing around in puddles, when we approached. Clementine was excited and wanted to run to him, to play and see what was going on, to have a laugh or two, but I wasn't that thrilled to have my arm pulled off by her in the attempt to do this and so I slowed my pace. He stopped in the middle of the road to look and bark, bark, bark. Oh, crap.

I slowed way down, considering a detour, until. He gave us one last harumph! and then fled through the doggy door to the safety of his yard. And then from there, he barked and growled his grouchy little head off at us. I couldn't keep from laughing.
What a silly, bad elf.

Evey day after our walk, she does my favorite thing.
It's quite warm, even in the morning, and especially for a girlie with a heavy golden coat on, so without a moment's hesitation, Clementine walks over to our petite piscine and casually hops in, swims around a bit at her leisure, and then climbs back out.
I can just hear her wheels turning, thinking, 'My, how refreshing.'

{thinking about a swim}


  1. A charming post. You seem to love Clementine as your own child.

  2. Clementine is definitely a girl after Duffy's heart. If we had a pool, Duffy would live in there!

  3. We have a little pool for our "kids" (actually 4 grandkids ages 2-6) and when we get back from a walk with Abbi, our big Newfoundland who loves water, she gets in the pool and lays down in the water and doesn't move for sometimes an hour or more.

  4. We also sneak into fenced off fields with construction! Our closest one has been turned into a nature reserve for bird eggs, but will all the clouds and rain this summer, we've been able to walk by the beach since there aren't many sun bathers.

  5. I love Goldens and Labs...they're the sweetest!

  6. All dogs have a neighborhood nemesis. Ours is a standard white poodle, and I take great lengths to avoid him while the Yellow Dog and I walk the 'hood. This French "elf" sounds like a handful, and every bit as opinionated and argumentative as the rest of my countrymen :-) Good thing sweet Clementine has a pool to regroup / and cool off in! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  7. Yep, those damn wiry terriers! From now on, I'm going to think of Clem's nemesis and Fifty's wiry nemesis as siblings. Bad elf twins separated at birth. x.

  8. Awww Clementine is so sweet. I have a cocker-golden mix waiting for me to get home from work and I MISS HER ALREADY. Thanks to this post. I love the smell of a warm, happy puppy, don't you?


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