Sunday, December 23, 2012

in a snow globe with buster: it was just the winter solstice

I may have mentioned that Buster tends to sleep in these days, not getting up when the rest of us do, the rest of us being Elliott (the cat), and me. As the morning routine begins without him, I adjust ever so slightly, now and then pausing to listen for the sound of snoring or the sound of snuffling or the sound of stumbling about. If I hear the stumbling or snuffling or nothing at all, I go upstairs to check on him, Buster, my old dog.

This morning the snoring stopped. I went upstairs, leaving the oatmeal cooking on the stove. Buster seemed to be asleep, then lifted his head, put it down, stirred just a bit. I flipped the switch to turn on the outside light and saw that snow was falling. By trying to stand, Buster helped me to lift him from his nest in the bed, and I carried him downstairs, through the living room, the kitchen, out the back door, down the three steps to the yard where I set him down. He took a minute. Sneezed. Righted himself. Shook out his fur and took cautious steps.

I went in to turn off the flame under the oatmeal. On the radio, a chorale singing carols had gone from decking the halls to Gloria. Even though I don’t usually listen to Christmas carols on the radio, it was too early for the news, and the carols sounded good, so I left it. In excelsis Deo followed me as I went back out to check on Buster.

A half hour before dawn, the sky a deep, dark blue. I could see out through the fields, the little trees dotting the landscape, inky shapes taking on a fresh shadow of white. Snowflakes danced in the slightest of winds, weaving in and out of the spotlight’s beam, falling downward, drifting upward, skewing this way, toddling off that way. Buster peed, and then as he hobbled to and fro, trying to discern his way, I went over to him. He felt my shadow, stopped, waited for me to pick him up. I carried him the few feet back to the house, walking through a snow globe, gently shaken.

Buster peeing in the snow, circa April 2011.
He no longer lifts a leg to pee.
Buster photos by D. Sobolewski.

The other morning out of the corner of my ear I heard a report about the Mayan end-of-the-world that did not happen, that was not, after all, really predicted to happen, but was just a calendar ending, and someone was explaining this, a man with what struck me as a soft, practical, slightly amused voice, and somehow relating it to the winter solstice, that shortest, darkest day of the year that people of old celebrated, in a sense, as it marked getting through a darkening time and on to the days when days brightened, having to start somewhere, of course, so the brightest days starting with a day just the tiniest bit brighter than the darkest day before. I am mangling this report, but whatever the man said reverberated and shook things up in my head, just a little, and when the thoughts drifted down, I celebrated.

View from a winter solstice.

{Every Sunday since July 29.}

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