October 7, 2010

Change of Winds or Winds of Change?

I am always amazed at the puzzle of human language. Today we were walking and I commented on the wind. “Gee, those are certainly winds of change!”

“How so?” Gretchen asked.

“Well, they usually blow from the north, but today’s wind is from the south,” I explained.

“Interesting way to express it,” she said.

“What? Did I say something wrong?” I asked.

“Oh no, it’s just that people would usually say, there’s a change of wind not a wind of change,” she told me.

“What’s the difference?” I asked.

Then she went on to tell me how “Winds of Change” has a bigger connotation, like something dramatic is about to happen that has nothing to do with the weather whereas the Change of Winds is all about the weather and only means that rain is coming or going (at least around these parts). See what I mean? The same words in a different order can carry much more weight and purpose when they’re flipped around.

Dogs don’t have that in our language. We mean what we say and we say what we mean. Of course, humans are always looking for the subtle nuances and in doing so, often miss our clear and direct communications, but after studying human language for awhile, it’s no wonder they struggle with our style.

But I do not want to talk about the Winds of Change. I only wanted to mention that the weather changed today and before the change actually occurred (rain in this instance) there was a change in the wind. Not only did it blow from a different direction (came from the south and not the north or west today), it blew harder and harder as the day progressed.

Sure, there was sun and the temperature wasn’t too cold, but the more we walked, the more we could feel the clouds swiftly move in and the mild temperatures chill up a bit. The days of Gretchen wearing shorts and not carrying a raincoat in her backpack, I fear, are over.

But that’s the future and I don’t like to dwell there because I’m a dog and we live in the now. So let me tell you what our now was like.

First, I got a big surprise this morning when who should show up just as we were about to head out on our day of walking? JESSICA and QUILLETTE! They decided to join us as we headed south to pick up Ollie and go for a nice walk down by the (windy) lake. Jessica helped us pose for our photos by the lake with the Canada Geese in the background…

…it took some wrangling, let me tell you, because Ollie wanted to eat the tall grass, Quillette wanted the cookies in Gretchen’s pocket, and I was feeling a bit tired…

…but eventually, we behaved and snap, snap (though that’s not the sound the camera makes) we were posed perfectly!

But notice that breeze in our hair? Yep, it was definitely winding up (hey, wind/winding what’s with that?). We hoped Jessica could stay with us for the whole day, but she had to get back to her work and we had to pick up Woobie so she could join us on a walk with Gertie.

The cool thing about Woobie (and let me tell you there are many cool things about Woobie) is that she’s really good about meeting other new dogs. She never freaks out, she never overreacts, and she always has a friendly word or two when greeting a new dog. Then (and this is the really cool part) she ignores them.

Gertie appreciated it because, as we’re learning, she’s a tad bit nervous in new situations.

I, on the other hand, am a tad bit nervous about walking out to the end of a very long dock and being asked to sit close to the edge. Yikes!

Woobie and Gertie instantly laid down and I was most impressed.

I was also most impressed with how the wind played in the long hair and curls. Yep, the winds were getting stronger!

After Gertie went home, Woobie helped me entertain Saber whose hair neither blows with the wind nor waves at all. Of course, it’s kind of hard to tell because Saber rarely sits in one spot for very long. He’d much rather eat grass.

Woobie would rather look off in the distance, her long locks lifting as the breeze turns chilly and stiff.

My favorite moment though was when it looked like the wind blew Woobie’s nose sideways!

Yep, things are changing around here (in terms of the weather), but I best watch out because who knows what changes might blow our way when it comes to human language!

Until tomorrow,


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