Siberian Winds

Nozomi has decided to stay in her bed for the better part of the day while gusts from the north batter our house like a typhoon minus the rain. These winds are from Siberia and, being from a part of the world that many consider to be unbearably cold, they carry quite the bite. It's really no wonder that a dog the size of Nozomi would choose to stay in her bed, with a heated blanket and in close proximity to her water bowl. That said, when nature calls, one must answer eventually.

One of the many things I like about Nozomi is her unabashed honesty. She'll let the whole house know that she needs to go outside now but if she doesn't like what she sees outside, she'll think twice about heading out … until I pick her up and remove her options. This was certainly the case today when she was hit with a blast of cold air the moment she stuck her nose outside the door. Fortunately she's a pretty good sport about being outside when I'm with her.

A moment after getting outside, Nozomi was fitted with her leash1 and we made our way to the park. As is our habit, she got to work sniffing the ground to see which other dogs have been out recently and I stared at the night sky. Quite a few of the western prefectures are being blanketed with heavy snow. Here the sky was mostly clear with just the occasional wisp of cloud. Above was Orion's Belt, as plain as day, and to the west was Venus, brighter than the crescent moon.

Right after comparing Venus with our nearest celestial body I had a sense of déjà vu and the feeling that the moon would be completely hidden behind a strand of cloud within a minute which, given the weather, it was. This wasn't precognition or prophecy, but simply the subconscious combination of memory and math.

Nozomi and I make the same evening trek every night, so I am quite familiar with what stars are in the night sky at different times of the evening. The wispy clouds were lit well enough by the moon and the street lights below that the mind could easily estimate where a cloud might be in a short period of time. The mind's eye clearly put two and two together to imagine the moon being obscured while I examined the sky, which then happened a few moments later. Déjà vu it was not, which is probably a good thing. The last thing I want to do is deal with "bugs in The Matrix" while on vacation.

Siberian winds have a number of useful effects. First they remind me of early winters in Canada, when the first cold gusts would caress exposed skin and sometimes offer a gentle sting to assert the season. Second, they cool the neighbourhood -- and the house -- down enough that every moment under the electric blanket feels sinful given all the comfort. Finally they give Nozomi some extra incentive to return home early so that she can return to her heated bed and get a drink of water.

Hopefully there's a lot more winter on the way.

  1. Nozomi's leash is kept next to the wash basin outside where her feet are cleaned after every trip to the park.