Friday, June 8, 2012

Whit to return, chacun à son tartan

The English cocker spaniel with whom I live, Whit was away at his spa in our nearby academical village for the past 7 days, as his master underwent an angioplasty for an imploded arterial bypass, débridement and lecture series on domestic vascular management. In his latest seduction of governesses he, for his part, was scheduled to indulge a bath and merry pastoral sport, so that in anticipating his return today a sorting out of our naptime tartan throws has been occupying the greater part of one's residual intellectual resources. Shameful as it is, to boast of the elations of life with this spirited and birdy social class, today's confession cites only a minor ripple of energy to be released upon reconstitution of our feudal order.

Texture and loft, brilliance and expanse are indistinguishable between Whit's dress Malcolm and my hunting Stewart. What's really pertinent, as you would suppose, is their implicit hierarchy of placement in naptime space, with the camel, periwinkle, black and red of Whit's tartan enjoying a much greater latitude of portability than the one for one's own bed or reading chair. I don't mind what this reveals of the circumscriptions in one's reading or romantic habits, when the sovereign expansiveness of Whit's dozing domain is demarked with such agreeable blur.

Not that the drill of Whit's review and inspection of one's deployments is ever unduly strict on the occasion of his returns to household, it can certainly be assumed that permanence is no more than provisional. We have long since dispensed with a biscuit tray, for example, given the ubiquitous recurrence of his appetites, in which rapidity of solace is much more important than any furnishing of space. Whit welcomes service essentially anywhere, and is wholly unembarrassed by redundancy. In the same way, any rarity or relative fragility in the movement of one of us, now, is more than compensated by spontaneity and vigor in the other's.

Whit attained the age of 11 while we were apart this week; he was born on D-Day, and I learned only yesterday from his breeder, that he has lately lost a sister, who had remained in Santa Barbara to redeem in showing what he had squandered in coming here. It's mostly viticulture, play and dozing, here; not much in the way of saucers or slipcovers. Hence this foray into guyblankets and circulation patterns, by way of mitigation. The other night, Whit did manage to dash to the floor a Limoges dessert plate I'd always rather liked from Frey, in the gonesses pattern reminiscent of Watteau, but ordinarily our porcelain side is also rather wan. We shall have to shape up for Summer.

    For today, however, there are the     many  uncanine trespasses of an       entire week to set right in the       garden, re-marking paths and         copses as unmistakably off-limits     to the unwashed and lesser deer,     and an evening whisky to regale       with the contentments of a lang-     uid stretch of the forepaws on a     tartan of one's own. With any         luck the night will bring the         stars to settle gently on the         swirls of silk that stir above       the snores of a settled English       dog, that there could be some         sense of that upon this page, to     show the house is full that is       his home.


  1. It would be difficult to make the distinction on this page, because of the breadth of interests of the author, but there is no mistaking the contentment present in one's description of a complete home.

    1. Whit's breeder has just presented me an "official" portrait of his late sister, from the English Cocker Quarterly, which I'll present here because of their facial resemblance. His return has flooded the house with its needed ratios of absolute balsam and manic scampiness (not to be confused with a preparation of scallops). These don't complete a home, but the rest is my job, which is partially here, which you generously repay in your readership.