Monday, November 17, 2014



I am looking out on my snow-covered back yard, the sun slowly sinking into the horizon, painting the sky a deep purple. The leafless trees, black and motionless are frozen in silence. Nature itself is paralyzed. No birds dare venture to our overflowing birdfeeders. No squirrels peek out of the tunnels they so laboriously dug under the snow. Life has slowed down to a bare subsistence level. Winter is master in this little corner of the world.

Inside the house, the fireplace is ablaze, overflowing with ashes. The cat is purring in his sleep, dreaming of warmer days and outdoor adventures. The smell of firewood and pea soup fills the air. The furnace is humming its reassuring song, keeping the frozen world at bay.

Night has fallen and the weather has turned nasty. Suddenly, a large animal appears out of nowhere in front of the large bay window and through the glass, I see a black and white husky look at me with his beautiful sky-blue eyes. He is magnificent looking, high on his legs, his thick fur making him oblivious to the cold. He seems to be asking if he can come in.

Once inside, he prances about while inspecting his newly found domain. Without hesitation, like a general entering the barracks, he makes the rounds of each room and finally sits down on his haunches and looks up at me expectantly. I have no idea what to do. Isn't he supposed to give me some clue? After all, he has all the demeanor of someone who knows what he wants.

We look at each other for a long time. His piercing blue eyes are frighteningly intelligent. The husky curls up in front of the fireplace as if he had done this a thousand times before. A little piece of the frozen beauty has entered and is sleeping in my living room, a small gift from lady winter that I want to keep forever.

The next morning I wake up to find the house completely silent, without the usual humming and buzzing of the refrigerator and other appliances. No radio playing, no music to listen to, even the birds outside are quiet, trying to cope with all the snow that has invaded their world. A lone squirrel is digging frantically for some straggler seeds around the bird feeder, his tail jerking violently back and forth.

The birch tree in front of our large bay window looks like it is about to snap under the weight of a heavy pack of snow and in the back of our yard our shed is covered with broken branches. The fire has gone out but the husky has not budged since last evening, a ball of fur peacefully curled up on my rug.

The tiles feel cold under my bare feet as I walk to the living room in the semi-darkness. I turn on my computer but nothing happens. Obviously we lost power during the night. The husky has come to life, wagging his bushy tail, expecting something to happen. I find an old piece of rope and tie it to his collar before we go out into the whiteness.

So much snow has fallen during the night, that the huge mounds in the driveway have lost all appearances of being cars. The branches on the large maple tree, heaving under so much weight reach to the ground.

The husky is pulling hard and I am no match for him. Before I let go of the rope, I am knee deep in snow and the white powder entering my boots slowly soaks my feet. The ice-covered branches reflect the sunlight in a mesmerizing dance of glittering colors. The snow is so white it hurts my eyes.

I turn to go back inside, defeated and dogless, only to see the husky stand expectantly on the doorstep. I grab the rope, but this time I refuse to let go. The plow has smoothed down the snow-covered road and turned it into a skating rink. I instinctively bend my knees and before I know it, I find myself pulled along by this powerful animal. He is following his instinct, the Alfa male leading the pack, single file, down a well defined trail. The road turns and so do we, I have never gone dog sledding, but this looks suspiciously like it.

Traffic lights on the main road are not flashing which means that the whole area is affected. There is no traffic at this early hour, only a large dog pulling a uncombed woman in her house coat. As we zoom by a driveway, I see a beautiful Cadillac half buried under a tree, as if it is wearing a giant wig.

Where are we going, I wonder? The husky and I have reached the entrance to the old railroad track. My ride abruptly stops and I stumble, trying to stay on my feet. The husky shuffles to the edge of the road, crouches down and deposits a beautiful, smoking pile, deep brown and glistening with freshness.

He has decided to switch to a sniffing and exploring mode, which gives me time to catch my breath and rearrange myself to a semblance of normalcy.

We are back home, where it is unusually quiet. I don't fancy washing myself with freezing water, so I curl up in front of the fireplace, next to my new found treasure and just listen to the silence. It feels homey and cozy.

At 2 in the afternoon, our daughter Karein comes home. She looks at the dog, then at us and immediately takes charge of the situation. She calls the police and several local animal shelters to report a lost dog. Half an hour later the phone rings and a shy, female voice with a Texas drawl, asks if we have found her dog. My wishful fantasy of adopting the husky evaporates as I hear the sound of tires crunching the ice in my driveway.

The Texas license plate explains why her dog ran off. Obviously there isn't much snow in Texas and it was this young husky's first taste of it. Besides, he turned out to be an unspayed female in heat. She had simply followed her instinct.

Usually a blackout around here lasts just a few hours, half a day at the most, but this time it is different. The emergency number's message says that they will have the power back by 9 pm at the latest, but 9 pm comes and goes and nothing changes. The novelty and rustic character of the situation starts to wear off and we are getting colder and a bit apprehensive. What happens when you don't have heat for a week at this time of year?

In the bedroom, my smiley face alarm clock is dark. I know the smile means that all is well again, but it stays dark all night. Monday morning finally arrives. When I open my eyes, the clock is smiling at me!

The house is still a bit chilly and it takes another few hours before the water is hot enough to shower but we all feel relieved. Did I dream it all? The husky, the sledding experience, the blackout? I sit down at my desk and google 'husky'. I am determined to replace this gorgeous specimen with an exact replica in the not too distant future. Either that, or wait for another blackout, when another husky from Texas will hopefully find his way to my backyard. leave comment here