The ghost of the county road

I broke the two mile mark at about 16:03, feeling happy and content in sunshine. I took off my jacket and tied it around my waist. Just as I began to think about Grandma Cecelia this somehow synchronized perfectly with the beginning of a Sigur Ros tune. I think this one was Milano. I was also on the route past the house on 68th Avenue, and 56th Street in Van Buren county. Just as I began to think about how much I missed her, a white dog leaped out from behind a snow bank. It scared the pants off me at first. Until the dog wagged his tail and began running along side me. He had no collar, and maybe this meant no home. I don’t know. I tried several times at first to tell him to go home. He didn’t listen. And even though he would run beside me, if I tried to pet him, he would run further ahead and into the road. Soon I relaxed and enjoyed cresting the hills along County road 215 as I ran hard up the slopes to see melting snow and the sad, bent yellow stalks of corn. Every time the dog ran off into the woods, or into the ditch to smell something, I would whistle and he would run like mad to catch up to me. Somehow he never got close enough to touch. When I turned the corner at 215 to run down 68th Avenue he trotted ahead, and even chased a family of squirrels. When the gray farmhouse came into view and the pond on the left, my running partner slowed for me to catch up. He ran into the ditch and disappeared for a minute or two. As we neared the driveway, he chased some of Grandma’s cats around the yard with little success. We went up 56th street back to County Road 365 to run back to the Lake House. I was wondering if the dog would follow me up to the house so I could show Gabriel and Isabella my running buddy. But just as I saw my mail box, I turned to look for the dog. He was gone. I’ve never been accused of being overly superstitious, or even sentimental, but I don’t think I even need to say what it meant to me. It’s at times like this that the nature of the universe seems more benevolent and kind. Perhaps now only because of Cecelia I recognize that certain things are possible. To say that life is full of simple and beautiful mysteries would be cliched, but true. And so I will say instead that if you wish for a running buddy wish for a white dog from the snow with no collar.

“I am thy father’s spirit,
Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love–”