Monday, November 22, 2010

Under the Emerging Moon

I came home to find Duncan still asleep on my bed, curled up on the comforter, his head resting on the sage-colored throw my mother made for Olive last summer. He hardly stirred, even when I plopped down beside him. We both groaned: me as I stretched and shook off my day, reaching my arms far above my head and sticking my legs out straight; and he as he shook a late afternoon slumber from his head and rolled on his side, first to touch his nose to my cheek to make sure I was there and not leftover from his dream and then as he kicked his legs up as though to dance on the ceiling, as I used to do as a child. Once assured that I was there he was ready to go. He jumped up, swung around messing up the comforter as he snorted into it before leaping to the floor and spinning in excited circles in preparation for our walk. I didn't move but continued to stretch, and when Olive climbed onto my chest and nuzzled into my neck I groaned again, feeling sleep and rest tug at me. Duncan returned to the bed, chased Olive away and chirped at me as he does when he's excited. "Oh, Roo," I whimpered and rolled over onto my belly. "It's been a long day. Give me just a minute." But he's smarter than that so stepped on my back, right into my kidney, and chirped so more.

Once at the park I took him off his leash and let him run. He made it about ten feet before he threw himself down onto the cold earth and rolled onto his back, stretching his legs as far out as he could. He stayed that way a long time, drifting lazily from side to side, his cheeks falling loose around his ears, a wide grin on his face while the rising bone moon bathed his face in pale November light the color of snow. I moved toward him, scooping up a stick and tossing it nearby. He merely watched,  unimpressed and stretched and groaned some more. He couldn't be bothered with me. It was a long time, even after I'd walked fifty or sixty feet away, before he climbed to his feet and decided to tag along on our walk. Once he'd caught up he did it again: rolling onto his back and stretching long, smiling up at me and snorting big clouds of steaming breath into the air. Finally I got the idea and spread out beside him.

We laid there a long time. He eventually rolled into me, content to stare at the clear, blue night, his head resting against my cheek. We were both exhausted; me from a long day at work and him from a long day lounging at home. As the minutes passed I understood: why relax at home when you can do it under the stars and emerging moon, your breath miniature clouds before your face, your best friend  beside you?

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