Last call for the dogs at our house is usually around 11 pm. When first call starts at around 5 am, that makes for a very long day. So, at night, I always walk them out to ensure that they get down to business.
Since my sense of humor and patience have already gone on to bed without me, no dawdling is allowed.
Graidy knows the drill. Wink sees this as another opportunity to prolong the day. He stops to sniff. I groan. He’s always stopping to sniff.
I am not supportive of the sniffing tonight. I enforce a strict ‘Walk and Poop’ policy because I’d like to get to bed within the same 24 hours in which I awoke.
He’s stopped–again–and I’m about to start whining. But he doesn’t lower his head to the ground to sniff. He looks around.
By this time, Graidy, having bored of Wink’s shenanigans, retreats through the dog door. I presume he’s gone upstairs to seek out the warmth and comfort of his dog bed.
I look around. I notice that it’s started snowing. I’m surprised. There wasn’t any snow expected in the forecast.
Everything is so quiet. The snow is quickly blanketing the ground and dampening the ambient sounds, so that all Wink and I can hear is water running in the stream out back.
Wink looks up to the sky and continues to look up for what seems like a very long time. I look up too.
The snowflakes are huge, and fall gently toward us. They look silver under the porch light, and they seem to go on, straight up, for miles and miles.
Beyond the snow I can see stars.
I look back down at Wink. He’s still looking up, and I watch him take it all in.
Finally he turns to look me straight in the eye as if to ask, Snow and stars together — isn’t that amazing? What is this universe we live in? How did we get here? And why are we here anyway?
Out loud I say, “Nobody knows, Wink. People have been trying to answer those questions for thousands of years — but at the end of the day, nobody knows.”
He smiles in the way that dogs do. Isn’t it wonderful? he seems to say.
“Yes, it is,” I agree.
I sit down on the deck next to him and pull him to my side. We both look back up.