Today, in spite of a forecast of monsoons, tsunami’s and Noah’s flood, I sallied forth and was in the woods before sunrise. Normally this is a magical time, when the birds, one-by-one, begin to strike up their notes like members of a wind ensemble tuning up. In the steady drizzle, my glasses kept fogging up – hard to wipe them while holding the old blunderbuss. I had let old Boo Boo, our 9 year old Master Hunting Retriever couch potato, out of her crate. I figured she’d roust up a bunny while I scanned the trees for evil, attack squirrels. She had done this often enough during pheasant hunts. I trudged up an old logging road, wishing my glasses had electric wipers. Dandy (her real name) urinated text messages at regular intervals, went for a swim in every creek, stream, river, rivulet, pond or puddle we went near, and thought this was a great party. The united rabbits of Northern New Jersey were meeting miles away with the Consolidated Squirrels of Sussex. A pair of wood ducks, miffed at their loss of connubial privacy, took to the air. The occasional crow took umbrage at our invasion of their personal space. The woodlands and meadows would have been a dreamscape had I not become drenched with sweat. I unzipped the heavy, waxed green coat and let the water in. We followed promising hedgerows, abandoned by all living things in honor of our visit. Dandy got very birdy a few times in sorghum and corn where deer had been lying down. I began hoping for a leftover hen pheasant in some brambles or an itinerant timberdoodle. It was hardly the season but it would have been nice. Even as a married man, you like to see some good scenery in a gin mill. I didn’t have the heart to go to the same diner where we had breakfasted (Dandy got half the Canadian bacon.) Like an escaped criminal I slipped into a strange diner and drank a penitent cup of coffee before heading home.