With apologies to James Russell Lowell, it is the fall months that make my heart sing the most, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I know what’s coming?
I’m playing hookey today, soaking up knowledge from one of the UK’s top sheepdog trainer/handlers, Gordon Watt, who also judged the Nippersink Trial last Friday-Sunday. Thanks to advice from Kathy Knox at her great clinic the weekend before, Willie and I had a great second run at the trial, and did our best ever in the ProNovice class. I can’t resist a chance to work with Gordon, sort of like taking a tennis lesson from Raphael Nadal. There is only room for me to work one dog with Gordon (thank you Margaret for getting me in, not to mention organizing both the trial and the clinic!), so I’ll probably work Maggie because she is at such an important stage of development. This is my last chance until next spring to work with an expert with my sheepdogs, so it feels like a rare opportunity indeed.
Here’s what else is rare: The Midwest in fall. All the sheepdog trials and clinics we’ve attended have been in beautiful places, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be able to spend time in them. Lucky me.
Here is the sky outside of Hinckley MN last week. I thought these cloud formations were particularly lovely:
The fall colors were starting in full swing up north. These trees provided a gorgeous setting for us while we worked our dogs. How lucky were we? Gorgeous dogs, green rolling pastures dotted with white sheep, and a Kodacolor background of reds and yellows:
Here is sunrise as we left the motel to the Nippersink Trial in southeastern Wisconsin last Thursday morning. The photo is exactly as my camera took it. I actually considered damping it down because it looks so, well, uh, garish, but decided to put it in as taken. The sky did indeed stop us in our tracks. Many “Oh Wows” were said. (Yeah… I too thought of the viral video of the hiker guy and the double rainbows and the OMGs! Hopefully we didn’t sound quite like him…)