Uriah’s nighttime walk was uneventful.
Sunday night the air was still, the sky held onto an eerie, dark grey along the western horizon. Northeast, the truck stop’s bright lighting reflects off the clouds in a grayish-yellow haze. While the town, to the south, lights up the sky with a peachy-grey glow.
I had turned on the outside light, in the driveway. It illuminated and reflected off the snow in clear sparkles, evenly tossed out like bird seed across the yard. I walked along the edge of light. And outlined the edge of darkness with my footprints.
Uriah kept bumping against my right leg, and then looked up whining. He wanted a biscuit. He would eat all of them if I let him.
Every time I gave him a treat, I took off my right glove then reached in my pocket. He would sit and watch my hands. “Sorry! I only have one more. I forgot to fill my pockets tonight.”
When I told him no more, he sneezed out his complaint and started walking towards the barn.
This time of the year is the safest, for walking along side barn at night. The grass is covered in snow, and I can’t accidentally sneak up on an animal. I set off around the West side of the barn. Then circled around back towards the north and made a right turn, along the east side, next to the line of trees.
From the road an occasional car’s motor interrupted the silence.
For the most part, silence followed us around tonight.
Earlier this morning, our quiet morning walk was interrupted.
The sky, instead of grey, held a pastel blue and purple hue, lined with a pastel peach haze along the horizon. The clouds, though thick and heavy didn’t look like a winter sky, they seemed warmer. I wouldn’t have surprised if it rained. It didn’t.
Someone has a fire going. I love the smell. Bitter sweet burning wood, drifting silently in the morning air.
Uriah stayed close this morning, all the way around the path. Until we hit the two thirds point along the north side. That’s when I brought to Uriah’s attention some odd foot prints. They resembled a dog’s print, smaller than his paws.
He walked over to where I pointed, and stuck his nose in the footprint and sniffed. My daughter told me her dog’s paws smell like corn chips. For a second I wondered what Uriah smelled? His stance changed and the hair on his neck rose and he started running following the tracks, round and round, very happy.
He took off into the trees doing his coon hound impression, a deep, drawn out bark.
“Uriah! Get back here!” I yelled! He didn’t listen…
I knew he would come out of the trees, when I walked off the path.
Before, I had a chance to take a step. I heard the sound of a motor. A vehicle was moving slowly along the northern tree line, heading west.
I stood still, and waited.
No one could miss me; I wear a bright orange coat when I go for walks.
The off road, four wheel vehicle passed into a section were the trees thinned. It was one of my neighbors. Not the one directly next door. Our property lines don’t touch at all.
His young son was sitting in back of him, and I saw the covered gun behind the boy…
I started calling for Uriah. Uriah answered me, and he didn’t come out of the trees. The sound he was making, told me he was found something.
The neighbor, slowed down and stopped his vehicle, and watched me. I called for Uriah again.
The guy started to drive away, slowly.
“Uriah! Get over here now!” I turned and walked back along the path.
Continually calling for Uriah, I was breathing hard, trying to walk over the heavy snow. My foot slipped. I had to stop for a minute. I couldn’t hear the motor any longer, so I don’t know if he stopped, or kept moving towards the road.
Now, I stood in the dark. The silence was heavy, the air thick and cold. This night reminded me of the night after my dog; Zeus was hit by a car, a very similar night, just emptier.
Uriah barked, then whimpered and nudged my leg for a treat. I ruffed up his furry face and gave him his biscuit…