“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Henry James, American novelist
Miles, our Appalachian porch dog, is sound asleep in the window seat next to me. This time, thank God, he has his back to the window instead of the hardwood floor beneath him. This is a good thing, as he sleeps soundly these days, being nearly nine. It’s never happened, but I’m always afraid a dream rabbit might twitch him right off his perch.
He claimed this place the very day he came home with us. We were surprised. Our previous dog had never expressed any interest in watching the world go by from this particular location. Aldo preferred to sit winningly at the garden gate and shake down walkers and joggers for pets and homemade dog treats. It’s that kind of neighborhood.
To each his own.
Miles clearly is a dog that wants to know what’s going on. He sits in the window — watching, watching. Yesterday morning, it was a small dog rounding the corner of our yard that caught his attention. I was typing away until his continual low growl — I’m convinced he’s learned some kind of yoga breathing in order to do this — made me curious enough to look for myself.
As soon as I was up and looking, of course, Miles was up and smiling and wagging. There was no threat. It was just a dog he could have snapped up in three bites — his favorite kind of play mate as he is a lover, not a fighter. Small dogs, stripey cats, red-haired babies out for the first summery strolls of their lives, Miles loves them all.
It’s not his only base of operation, or non operation as the case may be. Come the shade of late afternoon and evening, he sometimes hides behind the climbing roses, resting his snout on curves of wooden railing that seem somehow expressly made for such a purpose. Or, on a sunny, too-hot day, he will tuck himself under the wicker on the front porch, where he’s so out of sight we once forgot him for several hours.
And, he will watch and nap, watch and nap — never barking, simply enjoying a summer afternoon.