Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The sky was silver all day, the color of a blade, and the air did not move. The temperature hovered around 15 degrees and when I exhaled, my breath caught in the air before my face, wafted out only a little before falling and shattering at my feet. I realize there are colder places on earth (in Chicago my friend Traci used to joke about how for three months out of the year we lived on the planet Hoth), but these kind of temperatures are not standard practice for Denver. Five years ago on my birthday, February 1st, my mom and step-dad paid us a visit and were shocked to discover it was 76 degree. We spent the day at the zoo in shorts and t-shirts but the next morning they had to leave for Idaho earlier than they'd anticipated because of a coming blizzard, which my mother says is one of the worst she's ever driven through. Our weather may be sudden and occasionally extreme, but our temperatures do not drop. But we do, however, like the outside world to think they do because it keeps the riff-raff out.

Duncan was not happy that our walk was so short tonight. It's simply too cold to be outside for long periods. I took him down to the mailbox and then up the perimeter of the complex and back around through the yard that separates my building from Bowles. He knew what I was up to and dragged his feet and insisted on sniffing every clump of ice and snowball that crossed our path. Everything became extremely interesting and important and it was all I could do to keep my nose from freezing up.

"It's too cold, Roo," I told him. Once we reached the snow-dusted grass, though, he decided he didn't agree with me and attempted to roll around in it. What little snow we received last night had long since frozen over. Even though it didn't quite work, he kept stalling and insisted he was fine. Even though I tugged on his leash and coaxed him along, much of the last portion of our walk consisted of me dragging a stiff and reluctant dog who made most of the trip on his side, his eyes closed and a silly smile spread across his face, frozen snow washing up against his muzzle and floating up into his nose.

There is no reasoning with a dog.

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