Even a Poor Man Needs a Dog

The wind and I thrash all night. Autumn's debris slams against the roof with thuds and calamity. Insomnia arrives which angers my plans for Tuesday. At 2 a.m., a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich with a side of apple slices to accompany a book reaping. Thoreau wins to endure the howling rage of night with me.

Dawn delivers a syncopation of 75 degree wind blasts and rest. The thought of New England is never not there anymore. Decision. Division. Danger.

The opossum family shelters under an evergreen bush to hide from the dog; she is obsessed with them. And a skunk sprayed the neighbor's dog, for which I am very sorry because I know what it's like to live with that inescapable fetor. Even in all of this chaos, one hears the cardinal beck and call, up higher and commenting on the show. I was thinking that he said, “even a poor man needs a dog.”

The wanderlust rises again, as it tends to this time of year. My unspoken plans carry east of the Hudson or south into the Smoky Mountains. Before snowfall, I need to see.

“Transgression for the greater good” doesn't settle well, but neither does carrying a lamp that has been ushered under creaky old apple baskets. I want, therefore I am not. My mother's voice injects something about being dramatic.

In the end, for all the bluster and storming, the girl who has a dog and a family and a dread of winter must engage some other truth before the death roll smothers what remains of the ginger gold light.