I am really enjoying the location of our apartment here in Modalen. We have such privacy on the back side! Although we have other apartments on either side of us, their entrances are on the ends of our building. Our back entrance is the only door on that side of this long building-that-looks-like-a-home. It overlooks a wooded area leading up to the mountain.
It is very private – just our steps and the gravel driveway and a wire fence and the trees and the mountain.
I enjoy sitting on the back steps with Mac off and on throughout the day, especially when I am focused on my work for my company and can’t take the time to go for a real walk. Mac “does her business,” chases and brings back her ball for me to throw again, smells to see what animals have visited the night before, and sometimes lays down as if to say: “enough now; time for me to relax and sniff and listen and experience.”
That is usually my hint to do the same – well, at least just sit and listen and experience, I probably wouldn’t get much out of the sniffing part! – before heading back inside to continue my work.
But life isn’t just about sitting, and this pooch wouldn’t let me do that too often anyway! She and I head out for a walk most mornings. A day or two after moving in, I discovered a man-made gravel path that connects our community on the side of this mountain to a gravel/sand/rock pit located below us.
(Although Modalen is known for its hydroelectric capabilities now – they produce 10% of Bergen’s electricity, plus send power over the mountains to the eastern Norwegian area – since the 1920’s they have also been known for their excellent sand and rocks.)
Jan says it looks as if all the natural resources that can be safely excavated have been taken from this particular location, and now it seems to be an area that nature is slowly starting to reclaim.
It is the perfect playground for an active Labrador!
I throw the ball. Mac chases it down. But unlike the ball-action on the grass in the fields behind Patuxent Valley Middle School in Jessup, Maryland, USA or in other grassy areas here in Norway, this ball doesn’t go where expected. It hits a rock, or the side of the pit, and bounces in the other direction. And frequently, with my (lack of) aim, it ends up on top of the grassy area to the left of the pit. Or it bounces over the sand/gravel piles to the right and hides itself, waiting for her good nose to sniff it out.
Mac loves it! She seems to be in puppy heaven chasing that ball down, digging in the sand to bury and then find it again, splashing in the puddles that a recent rain left just for her, rolling in the clean sand/gravel, then dashing back to me to start the process all over again. Her tail wags often.
After she tires of ball chasing, a crystal clear creek that runs beside this pit grabs her attention. And although MacKenzie loves her ball, I think she has more fun with running into the creek and rearranging the natural dam of branches that have gotten lodged in a bend.
At first I told her it looked like they had probably been there all winter – or longer! – and to not get her hopes too high. But three weeks later, it looks like she might get them cleared, even if it takes all summer. Tugging, pulling, snorting … and tail REALLY wagging the entire time. I shouldn’t underestimate the power of an enthusiastic and very happy dog!
I just let her go at it, and stand and have my own personal moments of tail-wagging as I look up at the scenery around me, especially if it is a rainy day.
The beautiful, sunny days we have enjoyed have been such a delight, but our favorite times in this area seem to have been during the heavy spring mountain-rain moments. The creek is full, the puddles are inviting, and the sounds of the river and the waterfalls that surround us are better than a lot of the music I have ever played or heard. They might even rival a Tchaikovsky symphony, depending on my mood!
I cannot possibly soak it all in, but I let the rain drench me and come home soaking in another way.
We have never seen anyone in “our” pit since discovering it, except the one time we invited Jan to join us. I think of this as our own personal place – “Mac’s playground.”
But maybe I should also add “Cindi’s spot” too??