Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Touching Our Dogs

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Of Meadows, Mountains, Golden Light and Golden Dogs

I know I should be creating lovely, educational blogs on dog training or canine massage, but this afternoon, my head was aching from way, way too much computer time and way too little earth time. I needed dog time, mountain time. I needed to smell trees, and wind, and water. I needed to be in high places. So I took the dogs and ran away up to the mountains.

We didn't go far, just up into Carr Canyon (Cyn) meadow in the Huachuca Mountains, here in Sierra Vista, Arizona. But it was enough. Carr Cyn meadow sits like a tipped bowl below the rocky palisade down which Carr Cyn waterfall flows in season. The farthest end of the bowl is tipped slightly upwards, the end closest to us, down. The result is like a giant lap resting below the torso of the mountains. We walk it counterclockwise, entering bottom left.

The light was that wonderful slanting magic fall brings that etches each leaf with a sharp jeweler's precision. Tufted grasses waved a thousand shades of celery green, harvest gold, pale straw. The trees shimmered and flipped through a palette of greens and silvers, while the sweet, pungent aroma from the fading Mexican arnica still permeated the air. I actually managed to harvest this year, a few plastic bags full, to make the world's best liniment for humans. Nothing even comes close, and when it is finished, it's just like having all that golden meadow sinking deep into one's bones.

The Shibas love the meadow, and their golden coats flow in and out of grass and light and shadow. Nagi, the big, black sable shepherd, lumbers along, feeding his soul with the mountain's portfolio of sounds and scents. The blue jays chatter above, and Nagi stares, dreaming his endless dreams of blule jay conquest. The moon is slightly more than half full and is up early, perching proudly on a clear azure backdrop, dead smack center above a cleft in the top left hand corner of the ridge line. My heart raises up to meet her premiss. My body arcs to greet her.

The dogs are earthbound, earth passionate, earth ecstatic. They are buried in earth's cloven ridges. As we cross the top of the bowl from left to right, the whole Sulphur Springs Valley opens up in the distance, the demarcation of earth and river, the line of the San Pedro, visible from afar. Deer scamper ahead of us, the grasses so high that all we see are the flash of white flags disappearing into the trees. The dogs pauses, bodies keen on alert, then gentle at my call.

We meander to the creek's edge, and I sit to listen to her songs. I love this little creek and talk to her often. She is full of stories, humor, pathos, yesterdays, and tomorrows, but mostly todays. She is ever so present. She makes me mind the moment. It is this gurgle, right now, that flash of light, that dropping leaf, this resonant reddish tinge, oxides a testament of summer's hard floods. She is here now and forces me to be as well. The dogs just drink.

Across the creek and up the trail we go, tight together around the cattle guard, a right turn, and then down the right side of the bowl into the shadowed woods. Year round these woods give me succor, give me blessing. I am more comfortable in them then any friend's living room. For me, they are like an old flannel shirt. They are my home, my family, my respite from the world. I know their moods like I know the holes in my own soul. We have known each other.

Back across the creek, and up and out once again into the meadow. Lizards live here, basking in the sun. For the dogs, it is a playground nonpareil. Lizard chasing is heaven. They dash and dart -- the dogs that is, and I presume the lizards. It is an old, and endless game. The dogs are happy. The lizards, I assume not. Down we go back under the big, rambling mesquites. We have lost a number of these old grandpa trees in recent years, their shallow roots no match for the turbulent winds that seem to torment us so much of the year anymore. It is sad to see them toppled, their wizened wizards' limbs uselessly beseeching the sky.

Then on down the path to the final creek crossing, parking lot and home. It is still there, my meadow, thankfully. I have once again climbed into her lap for comfort. The dogs and I are soothed and replete, full of mountains and sky. Home again, home again.

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Bio continued

Known for the accuracy and depth of her analysis of movement patterns in both animals and humans, Maryna's involvement in the world of the moving body began early. Raised in the Hudson Valley area of New York, Maryna began coaching soccer at the age of 16, became the first female soccer referee at the age of 17, and co-founded the first girls' soccer league. She later taught recreational skiing and horse back riding, and was an Instructor for T.R.O.T., Therapeutic Riding of Tucson.

For many years, she was deeply involved in the sport of endurance riding (long distance horse races) as competitor and crew, where she pioneered the introduction of concepts of sports therapy into the sports horse world. She would go on to apply what would become Kinaesthetics tm to elite athletes from the disciplines of competitive trail, cutting, dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, racing, roping and vaulting, including winners of the Tevis Cup, and World Championship in Rome, Italy 1986 and the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1990.

Maryna holds a B.S. in Biology and Russian from Vassar College, and a J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

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