Thursday, June 14, 2007


From an opinion piece in NYT from Arthur Phillips: A new, utterly beautiful phrase:
"She, equally inspired to leap over danger’s cute and furry head, thought the notion not unfeasible."


But one memory above all gives that summer its place in my life story, and Edgar sits obediently at its center.

My girlfriend and I read in one of our many training books that dogs are happiest when playing games similar to the tasks they were bred for. Shepherds should herd; retrievers retrieve; hounds track. Dog-obsessed, we committed ourselves to this, lest the little fellow’s development be stunted by shabby parenting. Beagles are purported to be rabbit hunters, so we set to work providing our friend with a chance to self-actualize by honing his lagomorphocidal instincts.

In the rippling heat of a Boston July, we took Edgar to a green suburban meadow. He sat dutifully as we dragged a small canvas cylinder drenched in “rabbit scent” through the tall grass, making an aromatic path, then leaving the toy and a dog biscuit hidden at the trail’s end.

“Ready, boy? Get that rabbit!” I urged the stationary beagle, a small Ferdinand the Bull. “Kill the wabbit!”

I tapped his rear, and, as if I could almost hear him say, “I would prefer not to,” he stood up, put his nose to the ground, and walked off, in precisely the opposite direction of the imaginary bunny’s escape.

Edgar sat down again, some 20 feet away, where, I swear, an actual rabbit — aroused to lunacy by the field steaming with eau de lapin — leapt directly over him.

The beauty and strangeness of the sight — reckless prey taunting sleepy predator — led me to the most reckless moment of my life, and I suggested to my girlfriend that she might consider marrying me. She, equally inspired to leap over danger’s cute and furry head, thought the notion not unfeasible.