October 28—Sunday

I’ve drained the pipes—mostly—and packed the car—mostly. All I have left are the personal things I’ll need for the evening, food, my laptop, and a few odds and ends. I decided to put Wilson’s bed in the car already. I’m glad I did because it’s raining now and it would be hard to carry it down to the car in the morning—fully loaded with all the other stuff—especially if it’s raining. Wet dog is bad enough. But driving eleven hours back to St. Louis with wet dog bed would be even worse!

The light outside is fading fast now. The rain sounds heavy, but it’s hard to tell. The way it hits the tin roof always makes it sound harder than it is.

I have a fire going in the wood stove. The cabin is nice and cozy. I’d stay longer if I could. It’s fun to be here when it’s cold outside. The wood stove really heats this cabin. But snow is in the forecast and I cannot afford to be stranded here. I have to get home in time to vote on election day, November 6, 2012! 

Tonight, I’ll have a quiet evening, enjoy the rain on the roof, NPR tuned in, a little red wine (maybe more than a little, depending on whether I want to carry the bottle with me or not! I hate to waste), a warm cabin, and a happy dog asleep beside the woodstove.

I like it here.

I have liked it very much.

The programming on the radio turns from politics to the Latin Hour. Salsa anyone??? How wonderful for my last cabin night to be festive! 

Wilson continues to dream by the woodstove, undisturbed by my frolicking.

Morning comes early. In fact, I’ve set the alarm for 5:00 am. I always like to get out before the sun when I have a long drive ahead of me. The rain has stopped, fortunately. I have already turned off the water, so I wash my face and brush my teeth with water from a jug. I heat the coffee, but I’m too keyed up to eat anything. I’ll snack in the car.

Wilson has a pack to wear. I fill it with the rest of his food, his bowls, and the last of the trash. Despite my planning and packing the day before, I still have two armloads of things to carry plus my own back pack.

I do one last check of the cabin with the light from my headlamp. As I pull the heavy wooden doors closed along the porch, I notice that it has begun to snow.


I lock the door to the cabin, pick up my bags, and head out into the dark, the snow flurries flashing in the beam from my headlamp. I walk halfway down the hill and turn back to look for Wilson. All behind me is dark. I retrace my steps until my lamp catches the blue glow of animal eyes. 

“Wilson, come!”

The eyes do not move.

I feel a flash of fear along my back, maybe that isn’t Wilson. I creep back up the steep incline. He has never done this before.

I call him again, still no response. I know that he does not see well. Perhaps he needs to be closer to my headlamp. When I draw next to him, I see to my relief that the eyes DID belong to Wilson. Of course they did! He turns and dashes back to the cabin door.

I set my bags down and coach him forward, tugging at his collar. I curse myself for putting his leash in the car. He sits when I let go of his collar and won’t budge. I have to pull him. But I can’t pull him and carry my bags at the same time. The only way down is to set one bag down, pull Wilson, leave him, go back to my bag, bring it down to Wilson, set the bag down, pull Wilson, and so on and so on until we get closer to the car. 

The whole time I am wondering what has gotten into him? His fear makes me fear. Maybe he can’t SEE anything, but does he SMELL something? Is there a predator out there beyond the darkness? If so, what might it be? Has Earl’s bear materialized?

As soon as Wilson sees the car he bolts towards it. I can’t keep up with him, as I need to go back a few feet to retrieve my bag. Once he reaches the car he begins to jump at the passenger door, clawing to get inside. He is terrified. And now, so am I. But, I don’t want him to eviscerate my car, so I drop both bags and run to open the door. Once he’s safely inside, I go back for the bags, load them in the car as well, and dive into the front seat, all the while looking wildly into the darkness around me.

I start the car, half expecting to see a giant monster loom up in the headlights. All I see is dancing snow.

Top photo by alexander ehrenhöfer on Unsplash