Into a false winter where the sun still feels a balmy 69 then sets when it damn please. 5:40, thirty, before I’m off work and the grackles judge from the moontower anchor wires and it’s too dark to take the dogs outside. They don’t scrimp on the welcome home attack, puppy tongues a cross of dead fish breath yard poop and pure love digging their missing me into me, snug into the curves I make with my legs.

Got some holiday shenanigans in,

Skeleton gingerbread cookies.

though decorating felt odd with all the green,

Ornaments hanging from our trees in the front yard.

Christmas improbable without proper socks,

Christmas socks for me, Arthur, Robin and Mudcat.

and impossible without family. So the human parts of our pack took airplanes to see North Dakota, eat cheese logs and chippers and stand on frozen lakes.

Consolidated Lake in North Dakota, frozen and desolate.



Arthur was a good sport.

Arthur ice fishing in a plywood ice house.

I was so glad to go home, then so glad to come home.