The Scent of Winter
Two hours later, we walked again. This time the smell of skunk permeated everything. Luckily we never saw the critter, but Maggie wanted to track it. (Reminder to self: Buy a couple of big cans of tomato juice. That stuff really does neutralize the odor of dogs that have been skunked.)
On walk #3—a few minutes after 11:00 PM— the air was once again crisp and clear. No trace of skunk at all. What was once so strong was now non-existent.
Last night, we walked again. Again, crisp, cool air and full moon. On our first walk, no skunk. On our second walk, at 8:30. the skunk smell was even stronger than it was on Monday night. On our 10:45 walk, no skunkiness.
Maggie and I walk a few times every night. We walk in the light of the three dusk-to-dawn lights (and the moon), we walk in the shadows, and sometimes we walk in complete darkness. The darkness and the light are just steps apart.
A border collie is a perfect writer’s dog. The only time Maggie isn’t pestering me to go for a walk, ride in the truck, go somewhere, do something, throw the ball, open the door to downstairs, play tug of war, throw the frisbee, take her for another walk, etc. is when I’m sitting at the computer. Then she crawls under the desk, stretches to her full length, and sleeps.
Were I to wax metaphorical, I could mention how words—this blog, for instance—are an intrusion that, like a skunk’s scent, pervades a reader’s attention for a few moments before vanishing into oblivion, cyberspace, whatever.
Speaking of metaphors, a few years ago, I wrote “How do I Write?” in which I explained to students how I go my ideas for stories. I used the typical metaphors—travel, weather, etc. This essay took a second place in a contest two years ago. I rewrote it, entered in another contest, and received honorable mention. I rewrote again—got it to the point where it didn’t stink—and submitted it to an editor calling for submissions for an anthology of inspirational essays for writers.
Monday’s email brought good news: my many-times-rewritten essay, now titled “Out of the Fog,” will appear in A Cup of Comfort for Writers (Adams Media, 2007).