Sometimes, she is lost in the crowd, run-over, crotch-sniffed and dry-humped by big males.
But somehow, she always finds her way to the front and she is there, frozen and steady. Cat-like on the creepers. Chukars and pheasant and sage chickens mostly. The walking birds. Moving now. Then frozen.
The males, if they pay attention, nearly always come in second. When she is second, or third, or fourth, she gives quarter without complaint. She honors. Literally. She honors friends’ Griffons and short-hairs. She honors big white rocks. She honors feed tubs and salt blocks.
And she honors me, especially on the days when it is just her and her fine nose and her glide and float, her creep.
A friend watches her from horseback. She’s working sage chickens. She is a cat, and looks over her shoulder: “Um is someone going to come shoot this bird?”
And she moves as the bird moves, never pushing too far, stopping now and looking back at us and the friend is off the horse and moving in. “Okay, it’s about time.”
And slinking and then frozen and then the bird goes up and the gun barks and she has honored me once again. Make it last, this rare privilege, this fine honor, this sweetness.