December 24, 2010. Friday.
Situation: When I go down to the kitchen this morning, Moi, sitting at her laptop, tells me, “I’m being slovenly this morning. I didn’t wake up until it was light out.” She discusses the weather, talks about clearing out some of the junk that’s been piling up in the music room, shows me a photo from a family we don’t know that was mistakenly sent to our address, demonstrates for me how Woody says the word “rat” when he fetches his little cloth rat. I have no work today or tonight. The Boy will be arriving here tomorrow night – he works both today and tomorrow – and we’ll be getting together with Jazz this Sunday, after I come home from work that afternoon. Moi lets Mway, who’s been pacing around the kitchen, out the door. When I mention having to take her for a walk, she suggests that we can take her for one together. I agree. She lets Mway back in the door, then goes to take a bath before we go out – I, on the other hand, don’t think it makes sense to wash up until afterwards. I go to put on my walking clothes, Mway hanging in the door way, staring at me. When Moi comes out of the bathroom, I ask her if she saw the black hair band I found yesterday. “The what?” she asks. “A black hair band,” I say, “I found it on the path and put it on your laptop.” “A head band?” she says, “I don’t know, I didn’t think about it. What, will this take up a whole chapter in your journal?” When I go downstairs, with Mway at my heels, Moi yells down, “You go ahead on your own. I have to dry my hair, and I don’t want to be rushed.” I tell her I’ll wait. I sit down and have a cigarette, then I put on my snow suit and boots. While I’m standing at the door, Moi comes down fully dressed, sits down to roll a cigarette, moaning about all the cleaning she thinks she has to do this weekend. She brushes back her damp bangs, shaking her head, “My hair’s still wet. You can go and take Mwayla out on your own.”
State of the Path: Moi must have let Mway out the door a second time, for when I step out, she’s suddenly charging from the porch toward the hedgerow, where I can see a rabbit hopping along among the weeds. There’s also a sudden loud cawing – I think at first it might be the chickens clucking and crowing, but this definitely sounds like crows. Mway gives up on the rabbit and heads down the path ahead of me, turning down the side path. She doubles back before I get to it, but when she sees me coming that way, she turns back around. She stops to try to poop, but creeps ahead to try again when my steps come to close. I myself feel like I could poop – ideally, I should have sat on the toilet before coming out. I’m walking about the same as I did yesterday. On one step I take somewhat jerkingly, I feel a twinge of pain briefly in the foot of my good leg. Coming around the hedgerow, I see one small honeysuckle bush that still has some leaves on it – they’re withered and rotting, but they’re still green, and I wonder why they haven’t yet fallen completely off. When I see that the weeds around the cedar look flattened down, I think about walking to the tree to look at its cones, but then I don’t bother. The path is brown and hard down to bug land, edged by bits of green grass and a scattering of gill-of-the-ground. (As I’m writing this, Moi interrupts me to say, “What I’d like is a leash and harness for Wood.” I nod my head, wondering if I’m supposed to go out and get her that today. “Then next year,” she goes on, “you could write about taking a cat for walk.”)
State of the Creek: I pause below the tree stand, looking at the broken tree framed between the posts of the electric pole, then at the poison ivy twining up the clump of oaks at the corner of the lot. I stop at the former log jam to poke at the ice, noting the brown oak leaves frozen solid in it. When I reach the narrows, I hear pecking in the trees. Gradually I see a bird on a branch jutting from a tree, pecking downwards – it looks too small to be a woodpecker, but then I see the white-speckled wings that it seems every species of woodpecker has. I look for red on its head, and when the sun comes out briefly behind the clouds, I think I discern a spot of red, but I can’t be sure. Another bird, small, sleek, and tawny, lands on the trunk behind the woodpecker, then takes off – I have no idea what it is. The woodpecker stops pecking for a while, and I wonder if it’s aware of me staring at it, but then it starts pecking again, and I walk on. I cross the swale, then the feed channel, and when I reach the pin oaks, I suddenly think I glimpse in the water beneath the thin transparent ice some black things darting like minnows, but I see nothing as I keep looking for more movement.The Fetch: Mway is waiting for me at the clearing. When I start pitching the birch branch, I note that with the weeds starting to fall down you can now see the evergreens that Moi planted better. We make the circle, Mway a couple times dashing off in the wrong direction, then having to sniff around to find the stick. Into the second round, she starts coaxing me to play “Put it down.” I think about only doing it once or twice, but then I keep yelling it and we make a full round of it with me yelling “put it down,” until my shouts are as loud as her barking. Finally I feel we’ve had enough, but as Mway’s growling and chomping at the stick, waiting for me to say something next, I have a little trouble formulating the words I want to say. Finally they come out, a little stiff-sounding as they break the air: “Okay, that’s enough.”