I saw Venus rising before the sun through the evergreens yesterday, before the fog floated up from the creek basin, burning white fire as the morning star.
Frost forms; fog forms so thick that visibility is limited to 50 yards until the sun gathers strength to burn away the veil. There was little rain this fall. The open ground is still packed hard, not yet softened down to mud.
When Mercy and I walk down the hill to the park, I wear canvas pants with reinforced knees and hiking boots. I scan for critters in our path while I counsel the dog, talking mostly so that cats and wild creatures know we’re coming. If they have any sense, they retreat. The crows call out when I close the gate; the quail stop to listen before withdrawing into the blackberry brier.
“She has a strong prey drive,” the veterinarian says, even though the vet hasn’t been wrenched and whiplashed when a deer bounds across the road and up into the stands of fir, an understatement. We go down to the hard-frost grass in the park as the sun melts the fog. I throw the tennis ball.
There’s a hoop left behind by some night dancer. I roll it along the ground and the dog chases the bouncing rim growling, uncertain how to take down the unfamiliar creature. She seizes the hoop finally and holds her head high on return, jumping through the empty space, first two legs, then four.