I have lived on the pond for eight summers but never wandered farther than the front or back yard (with the porch and or yard lights on) at night. There was never a reason to do so. Then came Shianne Rose.
Shianne is a puppy - a fast growing puppy. She exercises me at least twice a day. On days I do not have to be at work this number could be closer to thirty-seven (37). Walks are long, over hill, over vale, around bends, past woods, field and through ditches. I have seen neighbors more often than ever before. They wave as the go by with smiles that say, "Don't I see you every time I leave or come home to my house?"
Now that the days are growing shorter many of of our walks are in darkness. On the pond there are few street lights. I actually counted tonight and there were...well there were none. So I carry with me a flashlight. They don't make flashlights anymore like they did when I was a kid. Dad bought metal shiny ones from Sears Roebuck & Co. You could drop them from a second story window and they would still work. Today flashlights are made of plastic. If you drop them they shatter into many pieces. The threads on lens part you screw on after you put your batteries in fail and you can never keep it tight again. Shianne had to potty a couple of mornings ago and took me jumping a ditch into a field. When I jumped, the lens popped off the flashlight and left us in the dark. I thought about feeling around for the batteries and lens but she had already left a deposit and I did not want to put my hand on the wrong item. We did go back later, in the sunlight, and found the pieces.
Leaving your flashlight on all the time is not wise out in the wilderness. It gives the enemy an advantage. They see you but you cannot see them. Shianne senses this. When we walk in the dark she puts on the breaks with all four legs. I have to pull her for some time until she gives up and walks with me. When we hear the leaves and twigs crackling in the woods as something scurries we turn the flashlight toward the noise to see what it might be. I have to bend over and pet her and reassure her we are safe. Our walks take much longer in the dark because of my having to deal with her fear. It reminds me of one of Bill Cosby's routines where he talks about him and Weird Harold walking home at night in the darkness and they would shuffle their feet - not wanting to pick their feet up so that if something got them they could jump straight up to Heaven. Because if you picked up your feet you had the chance of going sideways and missing it.
You see things on the pond with a different perspective in the dark. The stars and moon are very beautiful and lights glimmering off the water is very pretty. Even the homes with their lights flickering as the sit on the rolling hills make a pretty site when you take the time to look around. In the day light I listen to my iPod. But not in the darkness. You need all senses to keep you and your dog safe.
Tonight in the dark I met a neighbor and his dog, Shorty. They were scared too, I think because he put his flashlight beam on me as we were a ways off and he looked like he was ready to jump up to Heaven. This experience did teach me how my Golden Retriever would behave if we ever meet Bigfoot out here on the pond at night.
She will lick him to death.