Gazarian Column: Ready, set, hibernate

Umbrellas. By itself it sounds like a somewhat strange word. But it “feels rainy” today under an uncertain sky, with clouds running away as if looking for shelter. A good sleepy day for human and dog. Do not go out. Let the umbrellas hang on doorknobs. Make a fire and get the tea kettle to whistle its promise of warm china cups. From bed to breakfast table to armchair I cannot fully wake up. Perhaps taking the dog for a walk would help. But Nina is asleep, too, dreams sending tremors through her long-haired coat. Such peace is contagious. I want to lie down just like Nina. No worries, no urgent purpose. Cats and dogs teach us well.

Must walk Nina. First walk of the day. I’m late, captive of a pre-winter stillness. Let’s take the SUV for a ride. Illusion of wilderness. Lately I’ve had a Range Rover on my mind, British racing green, tall and square. Of course a used one. A 10-year-old one perhaps I could afford.

I would have to sell my 2001 Honda minivan. It’s now packed with books meant to go to the Greenport or Southold library. But books almost seem alien to libraries these days. Plenty of them at yard sales. Like objects from the past. Over the years thousands of them piled up in my house. The sad truth: I read few of them. To have them around was proof enough of an active mind. Let the illusion prevail. The reality: A book a month is what I manage. I’m not too proud of it. Plenty for the rest of my life. Fifteen books a year. Fall, winter, good reading months. Make a fire, fall asleep between two lines.

Lazy times, the comfort of my old armchair, dark blue leather and bleached wood. Telephone rings. Can’t resist, I answer. I should know better. Twenty minutes, lost. Saturday going fast. I must go shopping. No bread in the house, Science Diet dog food, urgent. No visits today. No one called. Me and the dog, that’s all.

I lost my wife, Nancy, three years ago. Never fully recovered. My young wife. My sister tells me, “You should be happy Nancy was in your life.” Sure, sure, it makes sense. I must be grateful for the good times. But it doesn’t work that way.

Slow Saturday. I move around the house under the inquisitive eye of Nina, waiting for action. Here’s your leash. Time for a walk. We’ll say hello to the neighbors as Nina pulls to greet everyone. How early it gets dark in November. We walk, uncertain of what’s next. Raccoon, rabbit, wild cat? Back in the house, warm, safe. I’ll make a fire. Cats love to lie down next to the fireplace. Dogs not as much. Wish there was a cat in the house.

A neighbor brought a homemade soup. Lentil soup, my favorite. Years ago the son of the French ambassador told me, add a spoonful of vinegar to the lentils. I always do. One more walk for Nina. I am concerned we’ll meet a raccoon in search of dinner. Nina will bark and wake up my neighbors and sleepy wildlife.

I do not love winters. Daylight too short, the sun seems far away, the melting snow. And the cold. Spring, where are you? Yes I know, there’s beauty on quiet snowy mornings. But this time I’ll be waiting for Florida weather on the North Fork. Soon.

The loneliness of roads, cars asleep in driveways, rabbits and deer hiding away from us. Nina, my dog, waiting for opportunities. I am getting too old for darkness. I want the longest days of light. But winter is what it is.

Come on, Nina, let’s see what we can find out there when December comes.

Pierre Gazarian is a poet and a writer of one-act plays. Email: [email protected]