Wild Canine

The air this morning sits at 38 degrees, with a refreshing (read: cold!) north wind blowing over the dunes. A monochrome sky and light misty rain keeps all but me, husband, and dog from the beach. Swells crash the shoreline with soothing rhythm. Low tide. A raft of black scoters – hundreds, if not tens of thousands of sea ducks – bob just behind the breakers. Mica the Magnificent Wildlife Watcher sits to watch with curious intensity. Her (and our) close encounters this past week include a bottlenose dolphin rising touchably close to our canoe, a beaver-that-thank-god-wasn’t-an-alligator roused out of its den under the roots of a live oak, a multitude of whitetail deer, and a racoon ambling along the road. And birds… lots of birds. She studies the scoters until the roll of a dolphin catches her attention and she follows that down the beach, bounding in and out of the cold water. Further along, where a tidal marsh flows into the ocean with a ripping current, Mica sees a splash on the far shore and is swimming through the rushing tide before we can react. Our hearts stop. Husband is shedding hat, gloves, binoculars, and working off his coat. The headline flashes across my consciousness: 'Man Drowns Saving Dog; Wife Drowns Without Saving Husband.' (Notice who makes it out alive in this scenerio.) “Mica! Mica! Mica! Mica! Mica! Mica!” I call desperately, panicked, while she swims all the way across the strong current and then calmly swims back, not having found the thank-god-not-a-shark-or-alligator. (It was sand collapsing into the water creating the splash.) Our hearts slowly recovered. She appeared to spend the rest of the walk studying the flow of ocean currents. ~K