The sound of birds began to break the silence of the marsh. Marsh hens rustled in the crisp morning before dawn and the old marsh began to come alive. Quietly wading through the knee-deep water, avoiding the holes that would take an unlucky adventurer up to their shoulders if they weren't careful the two figures moved into position. The mottled cloak blended in perfectly this time of the year against the yellowing razor grass and the other sporting a natural black, blending with the early morning and absence of the sun. The temperature was crisp and cold enough that morning which meant no snakes or alligators would be patrolling the same mud. The sound of mallards began to quack loudly to one another in a pothole in the marsh just behind where they had begun to setup.
Granit hissed, 'Dobs, heel!' sensing her companion was lolly gagging somewhere behind.
The grass rustled tremensely behind her and started to make a path towards her position, before a black head appeared swimming towards her. Obviously deep enough to tread as a two-legger but, Dobs the long coated Cairhien retriever was left treading water and proceeded to climb up onto a high point in the grass and heeling next to Granit's left side awaiting further orders. Ruffling the hair of the retriever who seemed unphased by the cold water and bouts of swimming she congratulated the dog for being a "goodest boy." The dog sat quietly, both figures alert in the dark as the stars began to fade over the night sky. Giving way to a prism of colors ranging in purples and pink slivers over the skyline. The sound of wings flew overhead, gathering both Granit's and the dog's attention. They were flying early. Shortly after, a loud splash could be heard just in front of where they sat, overlooking a little hole in the marsh. A nice reprieve for birds, who were known to gather in these little pot holes to dabble and enjoy a hearty breakfast of whatever they stuck their heads under water for.
The dog stiffened, as if he had been turned to stone, identifying the birds almost as quickly as Granit.
Granit crept up from outside of the grass, her sling shot filled with pebbles and taking aim.
Wood ducks, early risers were swimming merrily and absent-mindedly just feet from their hiding in the tall grass.
Letting the stones fly, she peppered two of the ducks which struck true, the other two exploding from their feeding and taking flight.
Dobs sprang from his position plunging straight into the water and moving towards the injured birds, picking one up in his mouth and retrieving him as if he'd done this a thousand times.
"Good Dog Dobs, good"
"Dobs, again!" Granit held out her hand signalling to the right, and off Dobs went, retrieving under the bright slash of pink sun that had seemingly erupted during all the chaos and feathers. Bringing the second bird back, Granit stopped to admire their quarry, beautiful hues of green of purple, even burgundy and white. Such a spectrum of colors for something that dabbled in the mud and lived in a tree. These ducks were beautiful and the feathers would go towards something else as well as the meat. Granit strapped the ducks to her belt and ruffled the dogs hair, slapping him on his side, displaying his gratitude for such a good job in retrieving and keeping up that morning. Dobs seemed very satisfied for someone who had made a career of following Granit through the marshes fairly regularly over the years and fetching a range of different birds as his officious position of "bird-picker-upper."
The two started to head back towards the canoe where they had hidden in the grass some ways back, feeling accomplished with food for the day and feeling confident that the new year would hold many good things ahead. Just as the sun had risen, the captain and the retriever were sure to see more good days ahead, and both felt confident in one another that they would do their part.
A new year, a new captain in the ranks, and a new rising sun. This year, will be a good year for all who follow the light, and we will all find success in what we do.
Happy New Year, great things ahead!