Common belief suggests most of us are being held hostage by the pandemic and are slumped in our basements awaiting the all-clear signal. Yet if this were true, freeways wouldn't be packed and resorts Up North wouldn't already be hanging No Vacancy signs out for the fishing opener.
I was thinking about this the other day and also about Newton's first law of motion. Training dogs at the time, I was mentally jousting with littermate 15-month-old Labradors named Rowdy and Fella, who more-or-less on command were doing as instructed, more or less. This included taking hand signals at a distance to move right, left or back.
According to Newton, "An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."
Though more figuratively than literally, in this case my hand signals were the unbalanced force that overcame the dogs' resistance to motion, or inertia.
Even in winter, with the snow and cold and dark of early morning greeting me as I trudge to a training field, a couple of canines at my side, tails wagging, I can't beat it, not as entertainment nor as pandemic distraction, this training of dogs, and young dogs especially.
If you're lucky and a dog is willing, movement will be gained each day toward a Zen-like understanding between master and charge that each is performing exactly as the other intends. Convincing dogs of this, and oneself, while not overly difficult, ultimately is more chess than checkers, and takes time.
Ironically, during the pandemic, time is what many of us have more of, not less, and not utilizing it to some good end might be regretted when more normal days return.
A friend the other day told me about long walks he and his wife were taking every day; walks that didn't occur before Covid reared its nasty noggin. The walks lead nowhere and yet everywhere, he said, and I nodded understanding because each morning after Rowdy, Fella and I train, we head for the hinterlands, walking.
At first the three of us rambled along certain routes, one way out and back another. But over time, where we went and in which direction became a toss-up, and as often as not I let the dogs lead the way, high-stepping as they did through snow. Sometimes the three of us surprised deer sunning in grassy beds. Other times we watched in the distance as hawks with dark intent circled pastures, ready to pounce. The farther we walked, the farther we wanted to walk, gaining, not losing, energy with each step.
"Few places in the world are more dangerous than home," the naturalist and author John Muir once said, and it's doubtful he was speaking of physical dangers, like slipping on bathroom floors.
More worrisome is the notion of home as fortress, which to the occupant provides the illusion of safety at the expense of confinement. Better to get outside and move, if only to walk, which as counterpoint to being homebound is as palliative as any pill.
"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks," Muir also said, and he had it right.
On the last day of the duck season I brought along both Rowdy and Fella, planning as I did to have the dogs take turns in the blind as a sort of initiation into the real world of waterfowling.
My dad used to say, "Never brag about a dog unless its dead or 2,000 miles away."
Animals, after all, like people, can disappoint, or, more generously, slip up at precisely the wrong time.
Years ago when I drove a truck I was staying in an Atlanta motel when my golden retriever escaped from my grasp and leaped into a nearby swimming pool landing almost exactly onto the head of a dog-paddling elderly woman.
After which he bolted into an empty room and backed a frightened maid into a bathtub.
That kind of thing.
Ducks flew sporatically as the morning's shadows shortened, and Fella retrieved the first two greenheads to arc downward, one splashing into a pond ringed with ice, the other across a small creek and up a hill. There was some coaxing on my part on the second retrieve, and I recalled again Newton's thinking on motion as I attempted to convince him at a distance to go right, rather than left, as he insisted.
Rowdy later also distinguished himself, or so I thought, chasing down a mallard that had somersaulted into a plowed field with a broken wing.
On the way home, the dogs slept deeply in my truck's backseat.
They were happy, and content enough, I figured, with me as their buddy.
I guess I was happy, too, and anticipated eagerly training with them the next morning, and walking after that.
- 'A tactical mind' - The inside story of how Dean Smith became Aston Villa's very own grand master - MSN UK - February 20th, 2021
- This is very unfortunate to have such incident: Jhulan Goswami on Manu Bhaker Delhi Airport incident - India Today - February 20th, 2021
- What prison libraries have to offer insidetime & insideinformation - InsideTime - February 17th, 2021
- Maxfield says unbeaten for Godolphin with stroll in the park win in the Grade 3 Mineshaft at the Fair Grounds - Past The Wire - February 15th, 2021
- Montville Recreation Offering Winter and Spring Programs - TAPinto.net - February 15th, 2021
- New Jersey Fencer Tsapatsaris Moves to Greece for Olympic Dream - The National Herald - February 15th, 2021
- A beautiful mind: Tom Brady has mastered the art of quarterbacking - The Boston Globe - February 7th, 2021
- Gary & Paul O'Donovan: 'Mam always sternly warned to never let a woman get in the way' - Irish Examiner - February 7th, 2021
- Beggars leave behind Jaipurs streets to pick up vocational skills - The Siasat Daily - February 7th, 2021
- Raise of the Sun | Connecticut Pro Basketball | journalinquirer.com - Journal Inquirer - February 6th, 2021
- One Year of On-Demand IT Training Special Promotion - CIO Dive - February 6th, 2021
- Kill the Homothetic Army: Gen. Guy Hubin's Vision of the Future Battlefield - War on the Rocks - February 4th, 2021
- Revealed: The best chambers for training and quality of work 2021 - Legal Cheek - February 3rd, 2021
- Coral Springs Recognizes Over 20 Members of the Community During Black History Month - Coral Springs Talk - Coral Springs Talk - February 3rd, 2021
- Watching The Queens Gambit? Master the game of chess with this extensive training bundle - KSAT San Antonio - February 1st, 2021
- Thomas Tuchels transformation from crazy man to chess-style tactics grandmaster detailed by former team- - The Sun - February 1st, 2021
- MLB Players Are Pissed With Rob Manfred Again, This Time Because Of Possible Spring Training Delay - Awesemo.com - February 1st, 2021
- Three reasons why you should play chess The Badger Herald - UW Badger Herald - January 28th, 2021
- To err is not just human: U of T researchers develop AI that plays chess like a person - News@UofT - January 28th, 2021
- Robert Saleh's journey to the New York Jets began with 9/11 epiphany - ESPN - January 28th, 2021
- Chess during downtime: How the Corps wants to increase 'thinking' in Marine infantry - Marine Corps Times - January 26th, 2021
- Using chess to help deal with addictions - Chessbase News - January 26th, 2021
- Gerry Thornley: Without crowds, matches are just upgraded training sessions - The Irish Times - January 26th, 2021
- Here's where Peoria council District 1 candidates stand on taxes, business growth, pensions - Peoria Journal Star - January 26th, 2021
- Robert Saleh's journey to the New York Jets began with 9/11 epiphany - ESPN Philippines - January 26th, 2021
- Welcome to FIFA.com News - The Week in Quotes - FIFA.com - January 25th, 2021
- Premier League stars share their tips on how to stay positive during the national lockdown - Ghanasoccernet.com - January 23rd, 2021
- This surprising pre-round warm-up will improve your game, according to a study - Golf.com - January 23rd, 2021
- Brittany Bowe starts abbreviated international season, hungry to return as queen of 1000m - Home of the Olympic Channel - January 23rd, 2021
- The influencer who is a chess star and the Beth Harmon of our time - The Courier - January 15th, 2021
- Former professor and an internationally rated chess player, Raghavan is taking chess to underprivileged k - Times of India - January 9th, 2021
- Ex-Viking Everson Griffen: 'It's Never Been About the Money!' - Heavy.com - January 9th, 2021
- Hobbies: January is the perfect time to explore new activities | GUIDON - Myguidon - January 9th, 2021
- A year like no other: The good, bad and sad of Indian sport in 2020 - Scroll.in - January 4th, 2021
- 17 Hoboken + Jersey City News Stories You Missed This Week - hobokengirl.com - January 4th, 2021
- Stop the pawns! - Chessbase News - December 31st, 2020
- In Beginners, a Writer Takes Up Chess and Surfing and Singing and Juggling and - The New York Times - December 31st, 2020
- The year of innovation: The 2020 silver linings playbook, brought to you by sport - ESPN India - December 31st, 2020
- How generation Z are taking over the cycling world - Cycling Weekly - December 31st, 2020
- Up close with Anand - BusinessLine - December 31st, 2020
- 8 movies and shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video from 2020 that sparked larger conversations - VOGUE India - December 31st, 2020
- A Discovery of Witches Season 1 Recap - The Nerd Daily - December 29th, 2020
- France and the United States are fighting for the 17-year-old genius. He had to turn away - R&R Magazine (www.randrlife.co.uk) Rest and Relax - December 29th, 2020
- Ghost of the tura: Of lost skills, tradition and language The Manila Times - The Manila Times - December 27th, 2020
- Ho, Ho, Hockeytown: A holiday guide to Detroit Red Wings' past, present and future - Detroit Free Press - December 26th, 2020
- Holiday happenings in Pittsburgh, from the Hip Hop Nutcracker online to First Night's virtual celebration - NEXTpittsburgh - December 23rd, 2020
- This Years Lakers Are Just Built Different. Time Will Tell If Thats a Good Thing. - The Ringer - December 23rd, 2020
- Timberwolves must defend to win, and Karl-Anthony Towns knows it - West Central Tribune - December 23rd, 2020
- LESSONS FROM THE PAST 12: Are Indians Too Individualistic? - Moneylife - December 23rd, 2020
- The 2020 Vikings offense is good until it has to be - Minneapolis Star Tribune - December 22nd, 2020
- Community groups in the Harborough area get a share of just over 30,000, thanks to the Market Harborough Building Society Charitable Foundation -... - December 20th, 2020
- Meet the modern-day Beth Harmon, a chess influencer who started training when she was 6 years old - Insider - INSIDER - December 18th, 2020
- 2020 in Review | 10 AI Papers That Made an Impact - Synced - December 18th, 2020
- Artoo, take the wheel: U-2 spy plane flies for the first time with an AI co-pilot - DefenseNews.com - December 18th, 2020
- Star Wars: Every Apprentice Palpatine Had (In Canon and Legends) - Screen Rant - December 18th, 2020
- AI co-pilots US Air Force spy plane for the first time - The Next Web - December 18th, 2020
- Meet the modern-day Beth Harmon, a chess influencer who started training when she was 6 years old - Business Insider India - December 18th, 2020
- RING CITY USA OFFICIAL WEIGHTS AND QUOTES AHEAD OF FINAL THURSDAY FIGHT NIGHT OF 2020 Boxing News Boxing, UFC and MMA News, Fight Results, Schedule,... - December 18th, 2020
- Exclusive Giroud and Kante interview | Official Site - Chelsea FC - December 17th, 2020
- Air Force uses AI on military flight for first time | TheHill - The Hill - December 17th, 2020
- Z-Corp in association with OCC launches online platform to teach chess - Times of Oman - December 16th, 2020
- Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold on What It's Really Like to Endure the Premier League's Notorious "Festive Period" - InsideHook - December 16th, 2020
- The View from 2nd Marine Air Wing: The Perspective of Major General Cederholm - Second Line of Defense - Second Line of Defense - December 16th, 2020
- Chess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand opens an online academy to find the next Anand - Business Insider India - December 15th, 2020
- 5 Free Ways to Learn How to Play Chess Online and Improve Your Skills - MakeUseOf - December 13th, 2020
- Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Courses Go (Mostly) Virtual for Winter 2021 - ThurstonTalk - December 13th, 2020
- Clean and Clear Advantage Recovery drug rehab has open house - Parkersburg News - December 13th, 2020
- Singapore chess and The Queen's Gambit: Has the Netflix show raised interest in the game? - CNA - December 12th, 2020
- Maybe shake hands and move on? - Plainsman - December 11th, 2020
- Media Bashing of Murray Taken to New Lows - Revenge of the Birds - December 11th, 2020
- The real Queens Gambit: Judit Polgar | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany - DW (English) - December 9th, 2020
- Dear Adult Leaders: We're Still Teaching Like We're Training 19th Century Factory Workers. Think Beyond Classroom Walls to Nurture Innovators and... - December 9th, 2020
- Facebook Gaming Launches The New Black Gaming Creator Program - Bleeding Cool News - December 9th, 2020
- What the Tech? Gadget Gifts: Chess Set and Mirror - Alabama News - Alabama News Network - December 8th, 2020
- 'Capitalists tend to adopt technologies only as and when they suit their purposes' - Morning Star Online - December 8th, 2020
- Wanderers' Jems Geffrard is ready for 2021: 'We have unfinished business' - Canadian Premier League - December 8th, 2020
- "All we have done really is earned another two weeks' training" - GAA Football & Hurling - December 8th, 2020
- Rob Pelinka, Frank Vogel are excited about the state of the Lakers - Silver Screen and Roll - December 6th, 2020
- Online interactive chess training - The Hindu - December 5th, 2020
- India at the Para Olympiad: In conversation with FM Niranjan Navalgund - Sportskeeda - December 5th, 2020