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“I’m breaking trail!”
Fido was exuberant. Elated. Jubilant.
“Look at ME! I am almost beyond words!”
“That’ll be the day, Fido. There hasn’t been a moment when you were without words. Even in your sleep, you’re one big, red chatterbox.”
“Let’s go over here,” he said, plowing through the snow. “No, let’s go over here!”
“Trying to follow your trail is making me a little bit dizzy,” I said to Fido. “Where do you think you’re going, anyway?”
“It doesn’t matter-doesn’t matter,” Fido cried. “I am living the dream!”
That was true enough. Fido has a double coat of red fur. He suffers in the warm months. This—a winter with chest-deep snow—is when he’s on his game.
“I’m having a little bit of trouble keeping up with you,” I grunted, planting one snowshoe in front of the other. “Don’t you ever wear out?”
“Sure I do! In summer!”
“So maybe you want to take a break? Enjoy the day from a standstill?”
“No time,” Fido replied. “Summer will be here soon. Gotta get while the gittin’s good, is what I say.”
“Summer is a long, long way away,” I said, “not that you’d know or care.”
And so we trod forth, Fido porpoising through the snow, me and my snowshoes and snow poles right behind, more or less. But I followed his trail. It is good, sometimes, to follow the trail of a big dog.
“Humans have a peculiar obsession with straight lines,” Fido said out of nowhere.
“I have to say, you make it easy on me, Fido. I am a human, and therefore oriented toward making straight lines. It’s good to get all twisty-turny now and then. This reminds me of marriage. Lots of twists, turns, about-faces, and following trail.”
“It’s a metaphor, Fido, just a metaphor. Never mind.”
“Twisty-turny is what it’s all about, man,” Fido called from way up ahead. “Let’s go over HERE! Hey hey hey hey!”
And then he stopped. Dead in his tracks. Another set of tracks lay in front of him, going perpendicular, more or less to his crazy Etch-a-Snow-Sketch. He pressed his face into the snow track.
“It’s FATHEAD!” Fido yelped.
“Gosh, Fido, that didn’t take long. How do you know?”
“First of all, Reorge,” Fido intoned in that know-it-all way he sometimes has, “just look at the trail!”
“To me, it looks like a snowplow moved through here.”
“Zactly,” Fido said. “But no snowplow can make turns like this! Hey hey hey hey!”
Fido is a secret admirer of Fathead, I know that much. Fathead is a St. Bernard, and he’s as big as a three-story house.
“Plus,” Fido said, “it doesn’t take much of a nose to confirm that Fathead has been here, no disrespect intended.”
And so it went, on and on, through the new-fallen snow, until the sun began to sink behind the mountains.
“This,” Fido said, “is the best dog walk EVER.”