The gravel path encircling the dog park is churned to mud. Wood chips, spread last season to fill in low spots, now form a waterlogged sponge underfoot. The sky, pale blue and cloudless, does not belie that we are in mid-dreary-chilly January. It bears a sense of oppression, making one inclined to slouch when walking, as if to clear a low ceiling.
The dogs don’t seem to mind the damp chill. Puddles, gritty mud, soggy clumps of sod… it’s all the same to their weather-hardened paws. There are balls to chase, fence posts to water and all manner of smells to sniff.
After a couple of plodding loops around the field, I catch up to my pup, who has paused to stick his nose up a Doberman’s butt. I latch the leash to his collar and we head out of the park. I sidestep pools of standing water, morosely noting that the rainy season has only just begun. My dog plows straight through the water, tongue flopping, slobber hanging off his chin. He — obviously — has failed to notice that we are in mid-fricking-depressing January.
gnarled bare tree shivers
arthritic branch points skyward
lays blame on winter