As I've mentioned before, there are dragons in our neighborhood. Okay, well, not really in our neighborhood but close enough. They like to race back and forth over the troll bridge at night, and you can see the trails of flame as they run. Of course, it's not really safe to go watch the dragons run around, because, well, they're dragons. Also, there's the troll. He's actually much more dangerous than they dragons, because, really, a human is not much of a meal for a dragon or, especially, a lot of dragons. But for a troll? Well... that's another story. And trolls come out at night, so it's just better to keep your distance. Remember the troll cave under the bridge?
Yes, that is stolen beer. Trolls like beer. Almost as much as they like people.
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter was woken up by a dragon hovering outside her window. It was breathing fire, and it was the sound that woke her up. Dragons are quite noisy when they breathe fire. My daughter was rather fascinated by the whole thing and called me to look. The dragon was a hovering just a couple of houses over periodically letting out jets of fire. I was so caught up in it that I forgot to get the camera. I mean, how do you tear yourself away from a sight like that even for just a moment to run off and get a camera?
My dog, on the other hand, was not fascinated my the dragon. She had followed me back to my daughter's room, and she did not like the dragon at all. She stood on my daughter's bed and barked and barked and barked. It was kind of amusing. It was also worrisome, because you don't really want a dragon to take notice of you, and having your dog crazy-barking at the dragon is not the best to go unnoticed. But, eventually, the dragon moved along, and all was well.
Several mornings later, though, as I was taking the dog out on her morning walk, there was a dragon flying by. It was breathing fire as it went, and the dog just did not like that. Fortunately, the dragon must have had other business, because it continued on its way. So did the dog... she continued on the way of the dragon, following along as best she could and barking barking barking. We didn't make it very far that morning, because, as soon as the dragon was far enough away that we could only barely hear the fire, the dog ran back home. I suppose she was so satisfied that she'd chased off a dragon that she'd forgotten the whole purpose the trip outside. You know, to take care of business. She had to go out again about 30 minutes later to take care of the business she'd earlier forgotten.
This is my fearsome dragon chaser.
I also discovered how completely impossible it is to take a picture of something while the dog is trying to chase it. It's a good thing the camera has a wrist strap; that's all I can say.
But! You're in luck! A few days later, after getting the dog home from her walk, a few dragons flew overhead. Groups of people went out to watch, and the dog barked from inside the house. I think it must have been kind of crazy-making for her considering that there were five dragons making their way overhead, and she couldn't get at them. At any rate, because I wasn't trying to hold the dog, I was able to get my camera and take some pictures of the dragons for you.
The other three were a little too far off to get pictures good enough to post. That is, if you want a picture of more than a dot in the sky. Or a few dots in the sky.
The thing my daughter found most intriguing about the balloon outside her window was that she could see the people moving around in the basket, bending over and pointing at things, and blowing fire up into the balloon. Especially the fire part. She was sad when it moved away. The dog was not.
And here's the thing: in life, we often treat things the way my dog treats the balloons. It's just a hot air balloon, but my dog looks at it and sees a dragon. It's this huge threat up in the sky blowing fire, and she barks and barks at it and can't even remember to go potty when they're around. The balloons don't care a thing about my dog, don't even know my dog exists, but they take control of my dog's life when they're around. It's so easy to see things we don't understand and start barking at them to chase them away. Or rant about them on our blogs. Or eat a bucket of ice cream. Or hide under our covers.
There's a lot to be said for stepping back and taking another look at someone, some situation, some thing and figuring out what's going on with it before we raise our hackles and start barking. Sometimes, these things can become "friends" (yes, even situations can become friends), like the cat that my dog used to want to chase but now pals around with. Which is more due to the fact that the cat just decided to not be chased than anything else.
At any rate, a lot of things seem threatening, especially at first, but they aren't always threatening. Often, they don't even know we're there (like agents and publishers that we may decide have it out for us because they sent us a rejection letter). What we usually need to do is sit back and watch and pay attention and see what happens. Sometimes, these things turn out to be good and we should really be taking pictures of them. I guess the real message here is "be smarter than a dog."