Standing in a tee shirt and shorts in the gray drizzle watching the puppies run in circles around the yard, I was struck by what a mess our country is in and sadden by how little light there seems to be left in our daily dealings with each other. While I prefer a gray November drizzle to a hot sunny summer’s day, I would much rather there be light in the things people think and say, in the things they write and publish, not all this hate speech and viciousness. I don’t know how all the darkness has seeped into our culture and now threatens to overtake us. It can’t be the fault of one poor, sick man, no matter what position he holds, though granted he’s done nothing to help us rise above it. Then I felt the damp kiss of a wet puppy’s fur against my bare ankle and I looked down to find Arlo, the puppy we are keeping, struggling to drag one of the little yellow striped white pumpkins our daughter grew this summer across the muddy lawn and up the steps. I guess he thinks he is taking it in the house, I thought, the joy of which struck me like a ray of light. The day after the election quickly becoming a day of my own, one in which I see the brightness around the edges of things; the last of the small, orange leaves flapping in the breeze like tiny banners hung from the nearly bare linden branches; the tall dark fir trees standing like sentinels at the edge of the clear cut; the bright blue Stellar’s jays screeching from the treetops, stretching their black crowned heads to search for each other. In the quince tree above the yard where the puppies are alternately chasing each other and pulling on the wilted pumpkin vines with their little needle-like teeth, the towhees are puffing up their copper colored bodies and flapping their white spotted wings in protest, they want to be on the ground searching the leaf litter for insects. I will call the puppies to me soon enough and the yard will return to the birds but for now I will let them run and chase and maul whatever plants are within their reach. I will stand out here and let the drizzle accumulate in tiny drops on the hairs on my arms and form a soft net over my head, I can always dry off inside. When the puppies discover the pit, the hole our daughter dug this summer when she had visions of installing a goldfish pond, and they begin to dig in earnest, their white paws turning brown, I will cross the yard and pick them up letting them mark up my clean shirt with the mud they so proudly earned. I will carry them inside to dry the rain and mud from their baby soft coats and put them down for a well-earned nap. Then I will sit on the couch and watch them sleep, these little beings of light, and let them remind me of what is important.
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