May 3, 2010

The Art of Racing the Rain

There’s a popular book out called “The Art of Racing IN the Rain” written by a local writer, but I think he should have named it “The Art of Racing the Rain” because we do that a lot more around Seattle than actually racing IN the rain. But Gretchen tells (she read the book) that the book has to do with racing cars, not dogs racing around in the rain.


Well, today we raced the rain not in it even though we thought the weather was going to be blue skies and wind. It was definitely wind, though it’s hard to tell from this photo of Rosie and Tyson since they short hair that doesn’t really blow around in the wind. And the blue skies hung around far longer than we could have ever imagined.

Usually, the rain clouds travel up from the south or across from the west and while the wind came from that direction today, the clouds we eventually saw (and raced away from) raced down from the north. It was odd. Northern clouds usually mean snow, but that wouldn’t be right this time of year, would it?

But those clouds weren’t there as we walked to school the morning and they weren’t there when we walked home. There was just wind, blowing strong and steady with a few big gusts that scattered seed pods across the street. When Gretchen headed out to walk Rosie and Tyson, leaving me behind, there was no hint that rainclouds were on the way. In fact, it was so beautiful out, Tyson asked in his most serious voice, “I don’t mean to be pushy, but can we play at the tennis courts?”

And so off they went, first for a short walk and then to the tennis courts where Tyson chased the ball and Rosie chased after treats that were carried farther than normal since the wind lofted them a much greater distance.

They played so much, Tyson’s most serious face relaxed into a happy grin!

Gretchen came back to get me after that and when we went next door to get the boys — Oshi and Perrito — clouds were just gathering on the northern horizon. “That doesn’t look promising,” I said to Gretchen, but she estimated we had a few hours before the clouds made it to our location. Still, it was odd that the clouds were moving south even though the wind was pushing north. It was almost like we were caught up in a swirl — a chance of rain whirlpool.

Oshi and Perrito didn’t care. They just raced along the walk sniffing and smelling and tangling their leashes as they went along. When we stopped for a photo, they were happy for the sun and basked in its warmth since the bench and trees sheltered us from the wind.

Now you may be wondering why Oshi and Perrito are always on a bench. Well, they have a habit of wandering off. Not far and not dangerously, but to the point where we have to scurry around to gather them back up. When they are the bench, with their leashes behind them, they don’t jump off or race away. Hence, always a bench shot unless we’re running around on purpose!

Like at the tennis courts…but when we’re “posing” we have to keep a close eye on the wandering puppies or they’ll end up at opposite ends of the city — Oshi as close to home as he can get and Perrito lost in the fun and thrill of every sound and scent. And when the wind blows those sounds and scents are abundant!

Next up was Saber, but we drove to his house because after his walk, we needed to drive to Alice’s house. Saber and I played at the small first, though, so that Saber could drain some of his endless puppy energy. It didn’t take long since despite the wind, it felt pretty warm. Not warm enough to stop us from wrestling, but still warm enough that we had to play in the shade for awhile.

We went for a walk after that up on the ridge and that’s when we worried a bit more about the rainclouds. They were gathering big and black to the north and we could see the rain coming down in dark gray sheets. That’s when got an idea. “Let’s go back to the car,” she said, “And head over to Alice’s house before it rains.”

“With Saber?” I asked.

“With me?” he asked perplexed.

“Yep,” said Gretchen, “both of you.”

“Yippee skippy!” Saber sang, dance like a walrus at the end of his leash.

So we piled into the car, drove to Alice’s house, waited for her to come out on the porch (she’s always a little scared about our arrival so Gretchen waits on the porch for her to muster up the courage), and then all of us went for a walk. Now Alice, being the kind of skittish girl that she is, was a bit leery of Saber, but Saber, being a dog of good nature, was patient and polite and soon enough, we were all walking (and posing) side by side.

We thought for sure that the rain would come after we dropped Alice off, but it didn’t. And then, we thought for sure it would rain after we dropped Saber off, but it didn’t.

“Why’d we do all that racing around?” I asked Gretchen.

“I guess I miscalculated,” she said. And even as I type, those threatening rainclouds appear to be skirting around us.

So while we have not mastered the art of racing the rain, we may have to master the art of racing IN the rain tomorrow. We’ll see.

Until then,


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