Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spring Is Partially Sprung, Goodbye to Spot

Farewell seems to be the theme these days. Winter is on it's way out. Spring is here, or almost here. I submit as evidence the budding flowers on our azaleas, and the Western Ribbon Snake that Troy spotted in our driveway yesterday. The one thing that wasn't spotted yesterday was Spot, Troy & Elizabeth's beloved dog and constant companion. Troy usually brings Spot along on his visits, but yesterday he came alone. In his old age Spot had become increasingly feeble, and this week he finally succumbed to illness.

The passing of Spot is like the end of an era. Unlike the snarling cur that Michelle and I have to contend with, Spot was more or less the perfect dog - intelligent, well behaved, good-natured, and playful. In his younger days his energy was boundless. I remember Troy once took us out on a motorboat at his waterski school. Spot jumped out of the boat in the middle of the lake and started swimming for shore. It was a long hard swim, and I was a bit worried that he might not make it. Not only did he make it all the way to shore, as soon as he got there he raced the motorboat back to the dock. That's how I remember him, running to meet us, panting, with that big grin on his face. Goodbye Spot, you were a dog in full. We'll miss ya.

Speaking of the departed...our wintering hummingbirds are gone. Both were present during the Great Backyard Bird Count, but have not been seen since. The female Black-chinned was last observed on Feb. 16th, and the male Rufous made it's final appearance on Feb. 17th. Hopefully they will return next winter (and bring friends). Not only are the hummingbirds gone, but with the return of warm weather our feeders are no longer attracting large numbers of birds. No more voracious mobs of warblers, goldfinches, and sparrows. Our feeders remain well stocked, but the birds seem to have lost interest.

For the past few months I've been working with another Californian named Mr. Ross. Today was his last day at work. He and his family are going back to California, where he is taking ownership of a golf shop. I must say I'm sad to see him go, and also a bit envious of the relief he must be feeling now. In the words of the Reverend... "Free at last, free at last..."


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