Green and brown

Following the dogs.

Green arrives more suddenly than brown, I have decided. A month ago, I was in southwestern Missouri buying fast-walking horses that will keep up with my bird dogs this fall. One day it rained, the kind of rain that pounds the land like an old shower-head in a flea-bag motel stings your skin after a long day afield.
The next morning, it was spring. Green. The horses ate at the young grass as if they were starving. And green was on the land. We loaded our new horses into the trailer and headed out, watching the green fade from the land as we chased longitude westward, into the flat platter that is western Kansas and southeastern Colorado. The diesel out-ran the green, but still it came, as steadily and as consistently as a truly-talented young bird dog figures it out in his second year.
And so the green is here and yet I think about when it will leave. It will be more subtle, more of a fade than a swell of color, more of a wither than a burst. It will wane slowly in this country starting in late summer, when hoppers ratchet from baked fields.
I walk these fields now and see the green coming and watch the new horses talk to the resident horses in that ear-back style of equine language. I walk these fields and think about wilt and my heart swells with the thought of it–a juxtaposition of emotions. Celebrate coming spring, sure, but pray for rain at just the right time, for wetness that encourages tender shoots of grass for young chicks, for a sun that pops insects from the ground for bird protein. Make it a good year, with good moisture and young birds hatching and following their mamas. So we can shoot them. This is a weird sport.

Author: Tom Reed

Four English setters tell me what to do.

6 thoughts on “Green and brown”

  1. Ah, yes – green has been slow arriving over here this year, but at last we have seen it in the valley. The mountains are still plenty white. Something about the rebirth of life in nature that sets the heart afire and makes one want to sing with gladness.

  2. And not a moment too soon. The time has come to plant, grow and harvest. My minds eye is wandering with the thought of you words, Tom. Hook’em all up ma!

  3. You outran the green all right. It still has not arrived in southeastern Colorado, where the weather radio announces one “Red Flag Warning” after another.
    Enjoy the horses!

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