It was a wonderful night for my evening constitutional. It rained earlier and the streets were wet, and the air crisp and cool. It has (knock on wood) been the winter that isn’t in this town. I feel badly for the one town in Alaska that has gotten 18 feet of snow this winter, but scoffed at Anchorage’s 130 inches. That is what we get by now in a typical year, but this year I think we are up to about 10 inches at most. It means a gigantic savings for the city and county in the way of cleaning up the white mess, it is huge problem for those that depend on snow for their living, ski places, snowshoe places, even business that cater to winter sports. Tomorrow it is supposed to snow, but upon close inspection not much more than 3 inches, a bit more in the higher and more northerly elevations.
We are quiet, we two companions, now of some 12 years, the only sound, far away is the highway, close at hand, is the clicking of his claws on the pavement, and the soft drop of my rubber soled shoes, a rustle of a plastic bag in my hand and my breath even and regular. I have come to rely on these quiet walks, the solitude, the peaceful end to my long day. He stops to pee a million time on one section, and then is steady beside me for most of the remaining walk, just our steps passing over the ground. I could say it was effortless, but the pain in my hip and knee is constant, I keep walking though, after all these years, if I didn’t walk I imagine I would weigh twice what I do. My ovaries are aching too, and with the end of the treatment for cysts comes the bloating and sharp pains on my left and right sides. It sucks getting old, but in some way I fool myself, tell myself, believe that fresh air cures everything, even crappy ovaries, even a bum knee, even that hip injury I have carried now for 12 years or more. I wonder what his old body tells him as he walks, after two miles he is happy, smiling and wagging and hugging my leg, begging for more food than his cup, a handful of asparagus and half a can of kidney beans. Dude, I say, you ate, ALOT, give it a rest. And now after I climb into bed, he is snoring happily at my feet, taking up more than half of the bed. I cannot imagine what an empty shell my life would be without him these last years. I wouldn’t give him up for anyone or anything. I adore him, and his solid companionship is nourishment to my soul.
There is something so wonderful about the ordinariness of the day, about the long evening walks, about daily rituals we two go about together, about the even way I breathe as I walk, about the ache in my body that I walk through. There is something wonderful about the ordinariness of the damp night and the cold air.