November Dog Walk

After school, if I can get out the school-door and home in time to catch the sunset, I take the dog for a walk through the woods. Dog-walking is one of my favorite things to do because it is so ordinary, so part of the ritual of daily life. And every dog-walking-day I see or experience something so exquisitely particular to the moment that it opens my heart.

I’m reading Matthew Zapruder’s, Why PoetryHe says this about stumbling upon poems when he was younger:

It was like plugging something into a socket, and electrifying my imagination, making me feel I was more aware, empathetic, thoughtful, engaged, alive.

Poetry makes dog-walking more meaningful; dog-walking makes poetry more possible.


November Dog Walk

That interminable gray. All day,
the temperature hovers around 40.
Water, not able to freeze,
also does not evaporate. This
liminal space.
Perpetual twilight.
A single crow caws. A last-leaf
flutters to the ground
from the red oak, a species
that hangs on
long past when others
have given up.
The sun, hidden all day, slides
under a crack at the horizon.
And suddenly,
the Indian grass glows
the blue-stem:

– steve peterson

Published by

Steve Peterson

I teach fifth grade in Iowa.

2 thoughts on “November Dog Walk”

  1. Thank you for taking me on this walk with you. For showing me the smallest details: the crow, the leaf, the crack at the horizon. For your language: liminal, last-leaf, grass glows golden. For an aspiration: to be like the red oak. For an inspiration: to live with eyes wide open.

    (And also for the John Green review of Auld Lang Syne. Because of that, I will say thank you for being one “of the people who loved me into this moment.” I raise a glass to you and to poetry. For auld lang syne.)

    1. Thank you for these kind words, Mary Lee. It’s the details, the simply being there and noticing, eh? I love how Rosenthal quantifies how many times we’ll see a tree (and how Green pulls that out that thinks about it in his podcast.) Each moment is precious.

      And I raise a glass to you, friend and poet.

      “We two/too have paddled in the stream,
      from morning sun till dine;
      But seas between us broad have roared
      since auld lang syne”

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