Thursday, January 8, 2009

Only Venus

It was an April day today, bright and sunny with dark shadows falling on the grass, which still believes––rightly, so––that it is early January on the edge of The Rockies. I spent most of the day at my dark little desk in the far corner of the bookstore dreaming of walking with Duncan while the sun was still high and the air a surprisingly warm sixty-six degrees. It was not meant to be, of course, as it was dark and cool by the time I arrived home. The sun had left a faint smear of itself on the western horizon, an orange fingerprint hovering above the mountain shadows for an hour or so before even it finally melted away.

But it was still warm for a January night and there seemed to be a sense of celebration in the air, accompanied by the summer scent of steaks on the grill and the far away sound of passing music drifting out of some open car window. We leashed up and with only the slightest amount of regret at not having the sense to fake a sudden bout of stomach flu in order to spend the afternoon playing outside, we turned away from the goose-trodden park and walked down Leawood toward the elementary school where Duncan loves to run back and forth across the soccer field. I have lived in many neighborhoods here in sunny Denverland, including Stapleton, which, at one time, was the place to live, but none have offered the same sort of warm welcome as the familiar-ish homes on Leawood. They remind me of the street where I grew up in Pocatello, and the houses where my friends lived and played. It is not often we get down that way in the winter months so tonight seemed the perfect night to take an extended stroll with Duncan marching ahead of me, his eyes trained on the shadows for a glimpse of the ever present crouching rabbits which linger on the edge of the sidewalks and huddle among the shrubs in the brittle, amber flowerbeds.

There was no sun, but there was Venus, high above in the south, traipsing gently westward, Orion rising slowly at her back. She was bright and vibrant, unwavering, unblinking with beauty as surprising as the day was warm. She was the only star in the sky and once the others had blinked awake, the brightest. While Duncan nosed around the mailboxes and lawn ornaments, I could not take my eyes off her, and wondered for a moment why the sun had seemed so important when Venus was out, offering clarity and calm, the kind I crave so often throughout the day and look forward to on my nightly walks. There was something familiar about her, close and warm and I wished every night could be like this night, with the heavens open and welcome, a warm hand on a cold forehead, a promise that clear winter nights can be as magnificent as any summer day.

Image courtesy of


Lori said...

Steaks on the grill. In January. I might hate you just a little bit right now! ;-)

caboval said...

****sigh****** very nice Curt! Warmer there than San Diego! I love that picture! Hugs Valerie

caboval said...

BTW Keep that picture of Duncan for your blog! He looks so majestic there and the sun is hitting his colors just right! Its a beautiful picture!

Curt Rogers said...

Thanks, Val! I worked REALLY hard on that in Photoshop. The background was obviously not that blue so I had to do that without turning Roo blue, too (say that three times fast!) and had to remove his collar, which he was wearing at the time. I'm glad you like it!

David said...

I think you added the "land" that you tacked onto "Denver" from your halcyon days back east in Chicagoland, the only city that I know of with a "land" attached to it. We all wish you were still here, in OUR "land". (And your "mentor" wonders if you have ever considered becoming a writer?)