Monday, December 01, 2008

Dusting For Fingerprints

On fine Fall days or foul wet mornings, you walk with the dog and she zigzags and switchbacks to signs you cannot perceive. Snout to the sod, whiffling furiously, she crooks and jerks a random course with no life in sight, straining at her tether. You look around. Nothing. The grass bare, no mark of trampling. Nothing. Shake your head and move on.

Flash ahead. Out to walk before dawn, still half-asleep. The fresh snow is wet and heavy; and although it is not deep—perhaps half an inch—it's enough to hold the imprint of the myriad tiny footprints that crisscross the lawns in intricate trails; tracks of cats, and of a multitude of rabbits, and one set that looks to belong to a fox, or something like a fox. The dog's nose slams down into the groove, and she sets off to follow it in its crabbed course, and you stand there, feeling limited and stupid, confronted by scent made visible.

Then she tugs on her leash fair to take your arm off, and you're inside the map, following its every twist with her.

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