"Can we go to the roods today?" she asked.
"A walk in the woods would be nice and cool," replied Mama. "We'll take some water for you and some iced tea for me. You get your leash and I'll get my camera. We'll want to take some good pictures for our blogger friends to look at."
"Ro-kay!" Koda replied, happily wagging her tail.
When they got to Berthusen Park, Koda's nose was pressed up against the car window and she was barking with delight.
"Ret's ro!" she yipped.
So they set out on a trail beneath the old growth evergreens of Berthusen Park.
"Koda," said mama, "This park was homesteaded by Hans and Lida Berthusen in 1883. That means that there might be trees here that are nearly 130 years old."
"Dog- years or people years?" Koda asked.
"That's people years, Koda. I guess they'd be about 700 dog-years old."
"Roh, row!" exclaimed the pup.
The air was cool in the woods. It smelled like cedar and ferns and other green things. The trail they followed was dappled with rays of sun that shone through the forest canopy.
Koda, who'd been sniffing the trail intently suddenly started barking wildly. She raced toward a cedar tree pulling Mama along behind her.
"Rook, Rook," she wailed as she leapt toward the tree trunk. She tried her best to climb that old tree; but try as she might, she just kept sliding to the ground. Mama shielded her eyes as she gazed way up into the branches of the trees. There was a rustling on one of the limbs as a squirrel leapt from one branch to the next.
"Oh yes Koda, I see the squirrel. No wonder you were so excited. But next time, please don't drag me through the ferns!"
"Rorry Mama," Koda replied with chagrin. She didn't mean to disobey Mama; but sometimes she just got all aflutter when she saw another creature.
"It's O.K. girlie-girl. Just wait a minute while I take a picture..."
Mama has many special names for Koda; but girlie-girl is her favorite. It's what Grandpa Youngedyke used to call Mama's mother, Ruby. So when Koda hears Mama say 'girlie-girl', she knows that Mama isn't mad.
"O.K., we got that picture, now let's get going my friend, we've got lots more to see. Hans and Lida left 236 acres to the city of Lynden back in 1944...and we've only gone a few yards!"
Ever deeper they ventured into the woods. It was very still. The only sound was a robin calling "cheer up, cheer up, cheer up".
Some parts of the trail were very dark. It felt to Mama at the same time peaceful and eerie. Primeval. Once she thought she heard a rustling in the bushes behind them. She turned but saw nothing.There'd been talk from time to time of cougars prowling around these parts, so she picked up a stick, just in case. She knew though, that Koda would protect her from any creature, even if it cost her life. She looked down at the dear dog and silently prayed, "Lord, please never let it come to that."
She shook off her gloomy thoughts and set about to look for interesting plants.
"Look at the buttercups Koda. Aren't they much prettier here than in my garden?"
Koda didn't answer. She was busy trying to catch a fly. Besides, she wasn't much interested in buttercups.
Ferns were abundant in the woods.
Delicate flowers bloomed from the forest floor.
After walking for an hour or more, the trail led Koda and Mama back to the part of the park for picnics and children. They found a nice picnic bench for Mama to sit on while she poured a bowl of cold water for Koda and opened herself a bottle of iced tea.
Koda lapped her water while Mama sipped her tea. Then they rested in the shade for a little while. Neither spoke. Good friends don't need to talk all that much to enjoy one another's company.
When it was finally time to leave Koda said "Ranks Mama, for the walk and the water."
"You're welcome girlie-girl," Mama replied.