A slender man in black trousers, ear-flapped hat, gray and black high tech winter jacket walks briskly past my house just at the moment I open the door for Mindy to go out front for her morning constitutional and chat with the neighbors. It’s 9 degrees.
Was he a martyr to his exercise routine, a martyr to his work schedule, a martyr to the weather? He really did not look happy. Maybe he was just cold.
We take our walk later because we can. When the sun is high, I pull on my fleece lined hoodie, the wool hat I bought in Iceland, and my boots and we head out to the golf course and from there the open fields. The peaks are a saw-toothed rim of white all around us. The pond is mostly frozen and, for now, the parked trains are gone. The ground is criss-crossed by animal tracks, and Bear’s nose is constantly on the ground. She pulls me — which I don’t like — as if the ice-rimmed tracks were new enough that at the end she might find a rabbit.
From time to time Dusty, who is usually walking beside me, finds something good to eat. Good in his opinion; not mine. Last week it was bear scat. “Drop it, Dusty! Now!”
He looked at me as if he were saying, “Are you out of your mind? This is bear poop! BEAR, I tell you!”
I gave up, hoping the cold had long ago killed whatever bearasites lingered in those ordurves.
I’m a martyr to these dogs.