It is a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and I am standing at the kitchen window looking out into the side yard. Everybody is at work or school and I am holding a cup of coffee watching a squirrel dash back and forth across the woodpile. My dog is sleeping behind me and if she saw the squirrel she would be up at the window growling before running to the back door barking to be let out.
If I let her out she would go tearing into the side yard after the squirrel but the squirrel would be long gone having hurried up the maple tree. The squirrel would be sitting on a low branch of the tree with its tail curved up over its head and chuckling at my dog.
My dog would stand there pointing with her hackles raised in the exact spot the squirrel vacated 15 seconds ago. She would then sniff around for a minute, maybe pee, and then trot to the end of yard where the woodchuck has its hole. She would poke around the woodchuck’s hole for a bit and then make her way down the fence line. She would stop at certain spots along the fence line, the hydrangea bushes are a favorite of hers, and check out each spot. She would then make her way along the rest of the fence until she got bored and then would stroll to the back door.
I would let her in and she would take a long drink of water as the squirrel chasing and hydrangea sniffing had really worn her out. She would then take a stroll into the living room and get on her bed next to the windows that start at the floor and go halfway up the wall. These windows provide a good view of the street. Eventually her eyes would get heavy and she would put her head down and doze.
I may then go throw another log in the woodstove and take my own wander through the backyard. I might look at the woodchuck’s hole to see if there is anything new there. I would step over to the hydrangea bushes to see what they look like. I will remember their big, plump flowers from June. The ones I like to clip and put into a vase on the kitchen table or on the back porch. When I am eating lunch alone I like them to be on the table as my silent companions.
I would then start back toward the house. As I made my way through the backyard I would look up at the chimney and see the wood smoke curl out of it. I would think about sitting in the chair next to the warmth of the fire with another cup of coffee and a book. Maybe I would sit in the chair next to the wood stove, stare out the front window, and wait for the squirrel to cross the street. Maybe my eyes would get heavy and I would let them fall closed and dream about chasing squirrels-just like my dog.