Thursday, May 27, 2010


IT IS FOUR DAYS UNTIL JUNE and a winter storm advisory has been posted for the foothills twelve miles east of here. Snow level down to 3,000 feet. Carry chains. Outside, the sky approximates the underside of an antique pewter serving tray. Mottled tarnish. Edward the impulsive black lab mix pup, who regularly finds delight in nipping Jax the Dog’s aging rear ankles, instead lies by my side as I read a winter book atop the quilted bed. The terminally nervous Aussie, Jax the Dog, rests uncomfortably at the foot.

IT IS FOUR DAYS UNTIL JUNE and I am thinking I should either activate the furnace against this unseasonable foul blast, or set a log in the fireplace and add some cozy to the environ. Maybe pour a dram of whiskey into a glass and watch the weather advance across the neighborhood and through my back yard. But that would mean disturbing one or both of the dogs. So I continue to read.

IT IS FOUR DAYS UNTIL JUNE and from somewhere inside that leadened sky, a roll of thunder reports. Distant. Subtle. Soft. Edward leans closer to my body. He sighs. I look up from my text and realize his eyes are fully shut: his body in still, peaceful slumber next to 'Dad.' Jax the Dog shudders at this first distant report and with the second, springs off the bed seeking shelter where there’s none better to be had. Jax knows what will happen if she’s not on her guard. If she’s not on her guard that thunder will shatter a window and burst through. It will clutch her wriggling, helpless body and drag her to a hell where she will spend eternity protecting her weary old haunches from being nipped by a million or more impulsive little black puppies. It will be worse than a bath.

IT IS FOUR DAYS UNTIL JUNE and I stop my reading, rise, move to the computer and compose this entry. Edward disappears. Jax the Dog follows me to my desk and squeezes into the footwell. The rank smell of her nervous panting rises from the floor, past the keyboard and into my nose. Suddenly, there’s a muffled deluge behind me, just through the double-glazed windows. The thunder again claps. Closer now. Louder. Jax the Dog presses my ankles and emits an involuntary whimper. I want to tell her, “It’s all right, Sweetness. All dogs go to heaven,” but her fear constricts my throat and I am silent. I understand, but she doesn’t – and Edward doesn’t care. My shepherd’s shepherd, I run my fingers through thick, soft fur and hope her panting will subside.

IT IS FOUR DAYS UNTIL JUNE and normally, on a date as late as this, I’d fancy myself exploring some road or canyon or vista on the motorbike. But Jax the Dog needs me. And really, there is nothing better than being needed.

IT IS FOUR DAYS UNTIL JUNE and as soon as I finish this sentence, I’m going to pour that dram of whiskey and watch this storm, all the while cuddling Jax the Dog.

© 2010
The Church of the Open Road Press

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