Instead of responding to Jerry, Michael sniffed and glanced about in quest of Steward. Jerry's first expression of greeting and friendliness took the form of a desire to run. He barked invitation to his brother, scampered away half a dozen jumps, scampered back, and dabbed playfully at Michael with one fore-paw in added emphasis of invitation ere he scampered away again.
For so many years had Michael not run with another dog, that at first Jerry's invitation had little meaning to him. Nevertheless, such running was an habitual expression of happiness and friendliness in dogdom, and especially strong had been his inheritance of it from Terrence and Biddy, the noted love-runners of the Solomons.
The next time Jerry dabbed at him with a paw, barked, and scurried away in an enticing semicircle, Michael started involuntarily though slowly after him. But Michael did not bark; and, after half a dozen leaps, he came to a full stop and looked to Villa and Harley for permission.
"All right, Michael," Harley called heartily, deliberately turning his shoulder in the non-interest of consent as he extended his hand to help Villa from the machine.
Michael sprang away again, and was numbly aware of an ancient joy as he shouldered Jerry who shouldered against him as they ran side by side. But most of the joy was Jerry's, as was the wildest of the skurrying and the racing and the shouldering, of the body- wriggling, and ear-pricking, and yelping cries. Also, Jerry barked; and Michael did not bark.
"Much more than Jerry," Harley supplemented.
"Then they have taken the bark out of him," she concluded. "He must have gone through terrible experiences to have lost his bark."
The green California spring merged into tawny summer, as Jerry, ever running afield, made Michael acquainted with the farthest and highest reaches of the Kennan ranch in the Valley of the Moon. The pageant of the wild flowers vanished until all that lingered on the burnt hillsides were orange poppies faded to palest gold, and Mariposa lilies, wind-blown on slender stems amidst the desiccated grasses, that smouldered like ornate spotted moths fluttering in rest for a space between flight and flight.