The start of winter

We are starting to move into the real beginning of winter here. The sun doesn’t rise until 6:55 and sets at 4:46, according to my Garmin Etrex. Here in the land of the rising sun where daylight savings isn’t used that means I do my morning walk in the dark from start to finish. During the longest days in the summer I have left as early as 4:30 am and it is already light. Now when I go out it is so dark I literally can’t see my hand in front of my face for the first 300 meters. Our dog, King, has fallen off the road embankment twice. It is a memorable sound to hear a 50 plus kilo dog fall more than 2 meters off the side of the road onto the forest floor slope that ends at a river some 30 meters down. Where he has fallen is coincidentally within a few meters of a trail that is used by wild pigs. The first time he fell I wasn’t sure if it was him or a wild pig. This last time he fell  I knew it was King but he wouldn’t come or even make a sound so I had to go back and get a flashlight to see what was up. I came back and found him right where he should be. For some reason he refused to follow the trail back up to the road  so I had to go down to get him. What followed was a comedy. I got to him but he wouldn’t come close enough to let me get his clip attached to his collar. I finally got it attached but not to the correct ring,(it is a choker style collar) and he immediately got loose again. I was holding the flashlight, one of the big halogen type that weigh a ton. I finally had to put it down and walk forward the last couple of meters to get him. I got him properly hooked up and retrieved the flashlight. King then got stuck on the other side of the tree we were walking past. I put the flashlight down and of course it immediately started rolling down the 45 degree embankment toward the river 30 meters down. It was stopped by another tree luckily… or so I thought. Something was broken by the hit into the tree and the light faded into black in the space of 30 seconds. Just enough time for me to drag King down the hill to it and cradle it in my arms in its dying seconds. Pitch black. So black I can’t even see the white of Kings coat. I made it back up to the road only bumping into one or two trees.

Within the first week of buying  our Corolla some years back I hit a wild pig. I was coming home from my ceramics teachers house. He lives high in the mountains accessible by a narrow winding 2 lane road. Going along I saw a pig dive out of the forest on one side of the road, skitter across in front of me and head back into the woods on the other side. As I turned my head to see where it had gone out of the corner of my eye I just caught its friend dive onto the road in front of me. I jammed on the brakes and was able to get it down to about 30 or 40 km per hour. I smacked into it, and it rolled onto its back although I could see its head over the hood and it was more or less eyeing me. I had the brakes on so hard the front end of the car was dipping down and pushing it along. After about 30 meters or so we slowed and more or less stopped. The pig, without missing a beat jumped up, circled around and rammed the front passenger door putting a dent in it. They are really tough. That night when I got home the first thing my wife told me is that they are worth about 10,000 dollars when butchered.

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