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Saturday essay: Change in the air

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

The winds of the chill this week foretold what is to come, no matter there being ample summer to forestall the inevitable.

Brinkley the dog sniffed it out Monday night, nose held high to the threatening northwest sky as the gentle breezes gusted, calmed and repeated their cycle, wind waves crashing onto the shore of her senses.

As her human did, she picked up the scent of some far-away sycamore, shedding its crunchy bark and its seed pods falling, breaking, bits being carried by the prevailing winds.

And, as another gust kicked up, she caught the sweetness of a late-July rarity — a fireplace lit to counter the slowly encroaching chill of the hardwood floor on the bare feet.

Just then, Brink's head cocked sharply to the left as she adjusted her ear antennae to better dial in the sounds of an approaching flock of Canada geese, not fooled by the chill into an early migration but scouting fresh grasses.

On the tails of subsequent gusts came the cries of the gulls, swept in off Lake Erie. Brinkley's eyes captured their confusion and, like a hesitant bettor, raised them her own befuddlement.

The autumnal interlude was pleasing. But summer has returned for the weekend. And Brink will slumber on the deck, more pleased that the sunny warmth has not departed prematurely.

­— Colin McNickle

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