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September 27, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

Timing is Everything

Pitcairn sat thinking for a long time. As he considered what he’d just seen, he remembered a hike on the West Mesa. It was mid-morning, a brilliant and warm spring day. Lucy and Lincoln were trotting along placidly after having covered more than a few miles.

Unexpectedly, a rattlesnake slithered from the brush onto the path. Lincoln didn’t see it even though his next few steps would take him right toward it and neither did he. But Lucy, the inveterate clown, had moved with a burst of speed, cutting in front of Pitcairn and knocking Lincoln aside in a wild dash into the brush. It stopped them in their tracks, which caused him to look down as the curse he had for Lucy died on his lips. He grabbed Lincoln’s collar as the snake quickly coiled to strike.

He tugged the dog backward out of range and then watched in amazement as Lucy careened wildly across the path just to the other side of the snake. It snapped toward her in a flash, but with the change of direction, missed widely.

Then Lucy took off into the distance barking crazily. Most often, she stayed relatively close, but in a strange twist, this time she was gone like a shot. Pitcairn held Lincoln patiently while the rattlesnake slithered across the path and into a stand of chamisa. Then they worked their way forward in search of the missing boxer.

It was a while before they found her sitting and panting with one paw held gingerly off the ground. She had several nasty goathead thorns embedded deeply in the pads.

Timing is everything, he mused.

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