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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Chase

I had grown complacent. There had been a time (decades ago) when a certain farm dawg would give earnest chase as I cycled by. I knew the specific farm well and would begin accelerating a coupla hundred yards before I reached the (ever) open gate. I’d get me up a good head o’ steam and pedal past the hound on the fly. That was then. The dog was old and I was (relatively) young.

But I’d grown complacent...older...grayer...weaker...slower. Lots slower.

I cycled quite a bit this summer. Logged close to a thousand miles on two wheels. Covered lottsa ground, passed a whole lotta farms. Sure, there were dogs. They barked a lot. Some growled a bit. But this is the age of passive entertainment, dontcha know. None gave chase.

I found a new road to explore last week. An east-west leg of diverse charms. I traipsed down and back a few times and rather enjoyed myself.

This day was different. And I didn’t even see it coming. The farmhouse was secluded, tucked behind tall pines. A long stretch of blacktop its only tether to the world. I dreamily coasted past the driveway entrance. It was only then that I saw the jet black cruise missile. I assume (s)he began its sprint when I came within its distant peripheral field of vision. By the time I reached the driveway entrance, this protector of hearth and home was racing towards me at Mach 2, afterburners fully engaged. I kinda hoped against hope that my nemesis would screech to a halt curbside. Mission accomplished.


Oh, no, no, there was no stopping this passionate, hellbent heart.
(S)he paused reflexively at junction of driveway and road then, seemingly with a shrug, muttered “Oh, what the Hell” and took off after me. I was on my feet, stompin’ on the pedals with all I had, all I could muster, all I could pray for. (S)he matched me lope for stroke. Teeth glistening “Crest-white” millimeters from bare ankles. I looked at him/her, he/she stared unblinkingly right back at me. Fear met bad intent and both hung in precarious balance for what seemed long enough to cause cardiac arrest. Then, as unpredictably as it had all begun, the chase was over.

The thing is...the road dead-ended ‘bout a quarter mile farther on. I had to turn around and pedal back the way I came. I spun the bike around, exhausted. Genuinely concerned. I stomped on those pedals. I gasped and wheezed. I prayed to the gods of velocity for undeserved (though much needed) blessings. Smoke poured from my ears. And, as I approached the gates of Hades, I saw the beast resting on the front steps of its home. I swear, (s)he smiled.

I like that dog. We’ll meet again, I’m sure. But, next time, I’ll be ready.

Chase on!

* * *


Blogger Fiona said...

Brilliant, Jonas!

And to think that there are still some people who refer to dogs as 'dumb'. HA!

Wishing you safe peddaling.

Wed Nov 17, 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Fiona! I can't help but smile whenever you proffer a comment.

Wed Nov 17, 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

Keeping you vital, Jonas. I think you've met a friend.

Greet story telling. I wasn't sure if you were going to be footless or not.


Wed Nov 17, 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Cool! Hopefully (s)he just enjoys the chase and isn't intent on the catch!

And if that is indeed the breed who gave chase, Belgian Shepherds are extremely smart and agile - think police dogs.

May you meet again with only the thrill of the chase - no pointy bits and no road rash!!!

Wed Nov 17, 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Yes, indeedy, Erin. I took a shine to that dawg right from the first skipped heartbeat. Passion such as that demands admiration.

I'm pretty sure s/he was a Belgian Sheepdog, though we didn't have time to exchange pleasantries or pore over AKC papers. It was a gorgeous beast. Very "sheepdog-ish" in its character, too. Once I saw that wry smile, I kinda figgered I'll suffer no (physical) harm.

We'll meet again, time will tell.

Wed Nov 17, 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Masli said...

did you still meet the dog afterwards?:) I recognized my black missile in your story :) I have one at home :)

Sat Jan 12, 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Masli - Sadly, no. Although I cycled past that farm house many times this season, I never saw the dog again. Pity that. I was looking forward to racing that magnificent creature a few more times.

Tue Jan 15, 06:38:00 PM  

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