Friday, March 06, 2009


Last night, went for a walk with the dog down to the end of our country road and back.
Getting dark, the few streetlights flicked on, with long stretches of night in between.
I balanced-beamed the edge of the road, holding the long leash high in one hand, teetering.

Found a miniature soggy Elmo in the street, picked him up and sat him facing
the Pressel boys' house, where I figured he came from.
All those little boys careen daily around their driveway whatever the weather,
in their Big Wheels, and on roller blades, whacking plastic balls with plastic bats everywhere and nowhere in particular. I love the mess of little boys, and picture their mom pushing them out to burn off that crazy boy-energy every afternoon. Now Elmo is waiting patiently for them to come out today.

Smelled a bon-fire, oh joy! Somebody beckoning Spring in the backyard. And a different, sawdust smell (not as sweet), from a tree chopped down near the Baptist pastor's house. Their golden retriever bounded out to meet us and I said aloud, "Here comes trouble," but he was just out to sniff. The hair down the middle of Buddy's back stood up straight, he froze, tense and alert, but didn't bark until the bigger dog bounded away again.

I like it that he really only barks when the danger is far away. Up close, he is terrified of course.

Skipped. Balanced-beamed a little more.

Passed the sign that says, "Children playing" and looked all around but the children were in for the night I guess.

Coming up to the house with two big dogs, we're both always nervous. They bark ferociously and bounce, bounce, bounce until their haunches are just as high as the fence. So far they only jump vertically, and haven't thought of backing up to take a run at the fence. When they do, we're goners because I'm sure they can clear it with enough forward momentum. Facing straight ahead we march with stiff limbs, eyeing friendly doors and low limbs just in case. Safely by, we relax and now there are no more houses.

Just a field on the left, and a marsh on the right and the dog zig-zags to get the best of both smells. Zing! He's off and I stop the leash in time for his long body to whiplash around, and then he turns to strain toward his target. It's a possum, sitting two feet from the road, just a little behind us. Frozen. He barks, barks, barks and I reel him in gently, crooning. Soon as he backs off the possum saunters down to his hole.

I laugh and persuade my tiny fierce hunting dog away, toward the next streetlight, toward the little line in the road that we touch and then turn around to head back. I always imagine this confuses the dog. Because we walk all that way and never really arrive anywhere. Maybe I should stop and point to something or stand still for a few moments. "We have arrived here, and now we are going to go back there." That should be enough for him.

All the way back I felt the wind, cool on my face, through my hair, blessing me. Spring, and walks, and smells, the animals, the life - it is coming, I can feel it.



Michelle said...

Thank you for this. Especially the hope-making part at the end. It's miserably cold and windy here today. I need to believe spring isn't on strike.

Kelle said...

This post made me profoundly happy. Because it was just that...profound. Light and Deep at the same time.
Love you!