To celebrate I returned to College Woods after a two month hiatus. My last visit was with Bella and before the three recent Nor'easter-style rain events. The woods looked a little ragged: the trails were wet and eroded in places, the forest floor was draped in bits of hemlock and pine boughs stripped from the canopy trees, a few large trees were toppled - their entire root ball upended and resembling a flying saucer that landed sideways in the earth.
I stepped around pools of water in the trail and peered into shallow pools alongside the trail. A wood frog called -- or more accurately quacked -- from one of these side pools. On closer inspection I discovered five jelly-like blobs clustered together. Inside were black spots -- thousands of recently laid wood frog eggs. As much a sign of spring as chocolate eggs in the Easter basket.
Wood frog egg masses (in center of photo)
April 1, 2010 College Woods
Zane joined me on the walk. I let him run free for the first leg through the woods and he stayed close. Then he ran out to a field and perked up his ears. He does not yet know his name, or "come" or "stay," so I snapped on the leash. We passed several people, some with dogs and some without. Zane was calm with all of them. No pulling, or jumping, or barking. Nice.
We met two dogs. A large, sleepy-looking male yellow lab and a "small" 110-pound female Newfoundland. On each meeting Zane did the slow circle dance that dogs do to quietly measure the status of one another. Each meeting was uneventful and we continued on our way. I let Zane loose one more time when we approached a pond - a reservoir actually. He splashed about, then darted off to chase a pair of mallards from a cove. The mallards swam off as Zane stared wistfully and perhaps wondering why they did not stay to play.
On the way home from College Woods I stopped at the grocery store. The store was busy with customers stocking up for Good Friday and Easter weekend and for barbecues. Despite jostling for space in the aisles and waiting in line at the checkout, everyone was smiling and polite -- just plain happy that the sun was shining.
Zane seems to be just plain happy. We are nearing a decision on whether to adopt him. He is now free of mange and therefore available to come home for good. Aria has given her okay. We'll take a few more days to decide, but he seems like a black gem.