My Lucky Stars

February 25, 2011

Australian Shepherd Looking Longingly

It is about nine thirty at night, very dark and zero degrees outside. The dog has cajoled me into coming outside to play his game, which is kind of a one-sided Pickle in the Middle–where he runs around with his ratty stuffed gorilla in his teeth and we both pretend that I am chasing him to get it. As if! my two-legged human “agility” could have anything on a four-legged Australian Shepherd–a clever breed whose leaps and swerves are genetically programmed to contend with the unpredictable maneuvers of wandering sheep.

Anyway. He’s convinced me to come out and have a round of Gorilla in the Middle, and I’m giving it my best, stumbling in the frozen-crust snow, in the dark. I can’t say that it is “pitch black” out, because above the charcoal gray of the snowbanks, I can see the pitch black silhouettes of the pine trees, against the backdrop of a babillion glowing stars.

Well, I am well-bundled-up against the cold, and really the occasional tumble and fall in the dark isn’t a big deal, but after fifteen minutes or so, I’ve done enough chasing. I plunk myself onto a snowbank on the incline of the hillside, and indulge in those pine tree silhouettes, and the stars above them.

It is all very nice.

And then. And then I start composing in my head, like I can sum this up for Twitter or Facebook. My mind gets all mental, and I am no longer just experiencing the crisp temperatures and the glory of the night sky. I am (dammit) thinking about it.


So much for that perfect place and time.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

sandra February 26, 2011 at 7:31 am

I hate Twitter and the FB for that, always making us think of how to compose things in a snappy, witty way. I’m glad you got it enjoy that for a while, at least.

Sonia March 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Annie Dillard wrote a great piece on just this in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – on how being self-conscious and peering over one’s own shoulder ruins the experience of the present. Page 81 of the 2007 paperback edition, if you’re interested. :)

I think I have a hard time understanding this, as I often have a continuously running inner monologue storytelling my life as I live it. It’s more difficult for me to *not* think about it!

Leila March 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Sometimes I like the constraints of Twitter, like writing for Twitter brings me closer to Hemingway. But, the ongoing reduction of my moment-to-moment existence into 140 characters becomes so distracting and ridiculous.

Leila March 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Sonia, I love Annie Dillard’s way with words. It’s been a very long time since I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; I ought to look for it at our library. Thank you for reminding me.

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