In the winter the sun barely moves above the southern horizon. It appears to bounce only above the surface of the earth before falling off into oblivion. Night is the guest that will not leave so it must be endured with patience. It was something expected and at first a wonderment.
Pal sniffed through the house as if it were a new surrounding. Shepherd thought it was just his way of making sure everything was in place and nothing had been moved.
“In New York City there are people who never come out until the sun goes down,” Shepherd said. “They would love it here.” Shepherd chuckled. “They would die in a week. They couldn’t survive. They wouldn’t starve to death. They would die of boredom. They just party until the sun comes up. I don’t know how they do it.”
“Are you sniffing a mouse?” Shepherd said.
Pal seemed to recognize the rhythm in speech for a question and appeared to show interest, but stymied beyond that.
“I would make a mouse trap,” Shepherd said. “But I’m afraid at first you would have to sniff it and you would lay the blame all on me. And who knows what trick you
might conjure up for me.”
“With some ingenuity it is certain something could be fashioned that would be harmless to you and deadly for the mouse,” Shepherd said.
“Are you sure it was a mouse?” Shepherd said. “I don’t think I’ve heard you comment definitively… Oh, a mouse; little creature, long tail, big ears for its size, very cute. Just a moment.”
Shepherd walked over to his bookshelf and pulled out the volume M in his encyclopedias. He thumbed through it. “Mouse, there it is. Pal come here!”
Pal trotted to Shepherd. Shepherd crouched down to one knee. “Right here, Pal, that’s a mouse… Don’t worry they’re not that big, but if you see something like that it’s yours; if you catch my drift.”
“I’ll leave it out for you to study and read some more,” Shepherd said.
Pal sniffed the picture and continued sniffing around the cabin.
“I just thought I’d inform you that a real mouse smells nothing like the picture,” Shepherd said. “While here in the wilderness it’s important you don’t have a disconnect between the abstract and reality. Yeah, and here I am talking to a dog as if he understands. Granted that has been done for millenniums, but how many show a dog a book as if he can read it?”