Dogs in the Fog (written 12/11/22)
Despite my commitment to walking my dogs, and despite all the wonderful good that I know it will do for them and for me, there are days when I do question my sanity.
Today was one of those days.
We catapulted out of the driveway with sullen, sodden skies overhead and sticky, muddy roads underfoot. I did not want to be there. Not only was it gray, but it was also cold. The mercury hovered in the upper twenties. Add to that about ninety-seven percent humidity, and we had the makings for some raw and wretched road time ahead of us.
Oh, and not only was it gray, and cold, but it was also foggy. And because the temperature was stuck below freezing, that meant the fog was freezing, too. Frost and ice crystals clung to everything. Everything was full of it. Everything I touched melted and got my chilly hands wet. Fog clung to the gates, the trees, the bushes, the grasses, the mailboxes.
I couldn’t see it, but I could certainly feel it. The whole air was wet and saturated. Small sounds were loud in that heavy atmosphere, but the wider, larger world was hushed and oddly silent.
Barely the slightest breath of wind stirred from the south. It was a miserable morning.
But as I walked, and warmed, and began to take stock, I felt a shift. For one thing, the dogs were having a grand old time. They ran like maniacs, bulldozing through the drenched underbrush and coming back to the road to shake themselves before plunging in for more. Their bells rang out happy and clear, shattering the fog into thousands of fragments, and opening the world just a little bit wider.
We had that secret world all to ourselves. No one else was dumb enough to venture out. We strode the roads with impunity, heads up, all senses go, with nothing but miles of fog between ourselves and home.
The wind rose lightly with each half-mile. What had begun as a breath became a sigh, and then became a breeze. Always from the south, it tugged at the tree branches so that the ones still coated with ice crinkled and creaked, and the ones that had melted spattered droplets on my shoulders as I passed under. The white, wet world was stirring, stretching, and shaking itself off.
There was light and life, even on a day like this. Even for a crank like me. The dogs had caught it first. I had simply been invited to come along and try.
C.S. Lewis wrote that the children and the dogs always know what to do with the weather. My take on it? Enjoy your dogs’ joy. Try to live like they do. And don’t ever miss the beauty, no matter what form it might come in.
For my part, even on a day like this, I was so glad that I had gone out in the fog.
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