There was this moment this afternoon while walking Duncan, when even as the clouds seemed to lift a little, and the sun seemed a bit brighter, that the snow started to fall. Despite the parking lot being full of cars that belonged to people who, like myself should have been at work but have been quarantined inside for an unknowably long and uncertain time, we were the only ones out walking and it was another perfect moment shared between my dog and me.
When the snow first came, muscle memory seemed to kick in without my even being aware of it and I pulled my hood up over my head. We walked on, Duncan tripping in the slush and me drawing smily faces on the hoods of cars as I do after a good snowfall. I was listening to music on the Beats I wear around my neck when we walk. There came this moment between songs, this long silence when all I could hear was the world being the world in a way that I’m not sure I’ve experienced before. It was the middle of the day in a city covered with wet roads and I couldn’t hear a single car cutting its way through the streets. The only sound was that of the snow falling onto more snow, a soft rhythm that normally goes unnoticed, especially on what should be a busy Friday afternoon. A gentle weight alighting on another gentle weight, like a whisper or a kiss blown from one set of lips to another. Hardly a sound at all. But there it was, imperceptibly loud, cacophonously mute. I pulled my hood back, turned off the music, and just stood a long moment on the sidewalk, Dunc at my side, his nose nuzzling the treats in my left hand. I turned my face toward the brightest spot behind the clouds, closed my eyes, leaned back and let the snow fall all over my face as I just listened to the goddamn blessed quiet of it all.
Yes, the world has been much quieter as of late, but you’d never know it through the fear and confusion, the anxiety and fist-clenching paranoia. But it was suddenly silent in an unexpected way. So I sat down, laid back in the snow, enjoying the cold of it as it crept up under my jacket and into the waist of my jeans, stinging the small of my back, biting my bare neck and naked ears. Dunc stood over me, looking down with that smile of his, as though basking in my moment of realization, of all the lessons he’s been teaching me these past fifteen and a half years. I laid in the snow and smiled and cried and laughed when he insisted on leaning down and kissing my face over and over and over again. And eventually he laid down beside me, if for only a moment, and we enjoyed the quiet together, a well-earned reprieve from the noise rest of the world.