Guille, Puti, Clyde and I have been in El Bolsón, in the mountains of Patagonia, for two weeks now, and routines are developing. For example, every morning I take Clyde for a walk around a large “block” of undeveloped wetland. We stand out because people who live here generally don’t walk their dogs, they just let them lose. Some are without collars, so it’s hard to tell the strays from dogs with homes. But I’ve been taking Clyde on walks multiple times a day for over 11 years, and he has come to expect them. Also, it would be a real tragedy to leave him on his own outside with his not being so wise to cars.
In the morning routine, we encounter the familiar dogs who all now know Clyde, and greet him. There is the small black one next door, who much like a small black dog of our neighbors in Buenos Aires, barks at Clyde like it’s ready to tear him apart. (He’s behind bars fortunately.) There is even a horse we pass, eating his morning hay dropped off by his owner, an 80-something woman with a pickup. We now know well how to navigate the various puddles and flooded gullies that rains have left behind, though they have diminished with 4 straight days without rain. I enjoy the fresh air, beautiful scenery, and morning peace. Clyde has even developed his habitual pee points, sniffing them, lifting a leg, and then sniffing the spot after, like a painter adding that perfect splotch of color.
There are also these birds, bandurrias, which here are as present here in El Bolsón as pigeons are in many cities, but much larger and much much louder. Every day, a certain two have greeted Clyde and me, swooping down and screeching loud. Landing and marching toward us while threatening us with their advancing squawking. The first couple days it made both of us a bit fearful that they would attack my dog, who has become so much more passive than when he was a pup. But later they became just another nuisancelike the psychotic little black dog next door. Well, it seems that these wild creatures now know who Clyde is, seem to be more intelligent than that mutt next door, as today they flew over, checking us out, and landed. But did not make a peep, instead moving on to their business of digging up worms, or however it is that bandurrias spend their days.