"The Lea Rig" (for My Old Kate)
watercolor, pencil, and pastel
12"x13"
2014

Last night, I was sitting outside on the courtyard....absent-mindedly throwing a ball for the younger & giddier dogs, when old Kate (trying, as she's done for years, to herd and boss everything on the planet) basically screamed. Her back legs (which have worried me over the past year....and, yes, she's on previcox and dasquin) just went out on her as she was scrambling up the steps into the yard. She'd smacked her jaw hard on the stone steps, trying to catch up with Dougan and Morgan.
 
I ended up (in the Hillsborough gloaming,as I suppose we should call it) sitting at the top of those steps, holding her in my lap and singing the following song (my favorite of Robert Burns's tunes, written in 1792)....and, yes, the other dogs sat around us, whining....and, yes, I've got no problem admitting that I sing to my dogs. Kate has been and is, all done and said, the QUEEN (as Herve dubbed her, years ago) hereabouts.
 
She's contentedly spent most of today on her heating blanket (it's August here, by the way), on a chair by the kitchen table while I painted her and Dougan (her younger sibling) from younger (if not necessarily "happier" days). Just for the record?.....her boyfriends are Herve, Lee, Godfrey, and Bob Niedbalski.  She LOVES them.  All I have to do is to say "____is going to visit! You want to see _____???"....and she perks up instantly.
 
I think Kate is thirteen now....the years do go by, don't they?
 
And "Lea Rig"  is derived from "laeghrycg"......meaning a fallow/grassy/untilled ridge between furrows or plot of land.  Odd to consider that I spent years studying all of this, and now it comes bubbling up.
 
Go to (and this is somewhat amateurly edited, but still a good/sincere video of "The Lea Rig"):
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7sf1DQQIPk
 
When o'er the hill the eastern star
Tells bughtin-time is near, my jo,
And owsen frae the furrow'd field
Return sae dowf and weary O;
Down by the burn where scented birks
Wi' dew are hangin clear, my jo,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

At midnight hour, in mirkest glen,
I'd rove and ne'er be wearie O,
If thro' that glen I gaed to thee,
My ain kind Dearie O:
Altho' the night were ne'er sae wet,
And I were ne'er sae weary O,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

The hunter lo'es the morning sun;
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo;
At noon the fisher seeks the glen,
Adown the burn to steer, my jo:
Gie me the hour o' gloamin grey,
It maks my heart sae cheary O
To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.