Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Her heart's in the Highlands

Hawking this afternoon was over and done in five minutes: the dachshunds plunged into a blackberry-and-gooseberry thicket, a rabbit ran out the other side, and the redtail caught it easily. Under such circumstances, it's often tempting to continue in search of another, but Stekoa's been slaughtering mice and voles with abandon of late, so I was especially grateful for the rabbit and thought it better to end the day on a positive note.

On the brief walk out of the woods, we flushed a large whitetail doe, who materialised from another thicket and bounded, flag high, across the campground road and then up and over a hill planted in little bluestem. The puppies gave chase, but I called them off and we returned to the car, where I finished feeding Stekoa. Maxine stayed close by, ever alert to the possibility that the hawk might drop something remotely edible, but Anya (who in any case tends to lose out to Max when such bounty does fall) apparently sneaked off while I was preoccupied: the next time I saw her, it was at a distance, as she trotted contentedly back from the hillside beyond which the doe had disappeared. As I watched the little huntress slipping through the grass which so nearly matched her coat, I thought of these lines by Robert Burns:

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer

[The whole piece, as sung by Karine Polwart:]