Monday, January 27, 2014


Last night just after the snow started, in those quiet moments after dark when the first flakes look to be little more than summer insects dancing among the street lamps but then cease their flutterings and grow thicker and heavier and begin to fall in earnest, I took Duncan downstairs for a walk. The traffic had calmed and the night was quiet and thick around us, the only sounds those of our feet slapping the slush and breaking the thin crust of ice that was trying desperately to form along the edges of the curbs. Duncan padded along beside me, pulling gently this way and that when he found a bush or a clump of grass that needed investigating, but mostly sticking close to my side, occasionally brushing against my leg as if to be sure of me.

When our hair had turned good and white and my cheeks were a solid shade of pink, he climbed to the top of the tallest mound of snow leftover by the plough that had cleared the parking-lot last week. It was a mammoth thing, towering over me by a good three feet. One side was dark and solid, an enormous chunk of ice that was stained with rocks and small pebbles, the dirty splashings of passing cars; the other a soft powder of snow, the kind that kind be blown and scattered by a single breath. Duncan rolled over on his back on the soft side, exposing his belly to the heavens and simply looked upward into the cascading flakes, the flurry of white dancing down into his eyes. He laid there a long time, unmoving, simply breathing and witnessing, and after a long moment I could not help but join him. So I climbed the berg and settled down next to him. His body was warm against mine and his tail fluttered when I rested my head beside his. And together we did nothing else but watch the snow come down, each flake sighing a single whispering crystalline chime as it alighted on our lashes or in the powder around us.

I am not the kind of man who throws big parties or attends them even. The nightlife does not know my name or my face. I do not make loud noises. Laying next to Roo in the snow and watching winter be winter is all the excitement this spirit needs or craves.

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