“Come on already!”

“We can’t go anywhere, Aussie, it’s snowing outside, earliest snow I can remember here. I don’t even have snow tires on the car yet.”

“I’m out in the back yard all the time, Boss. Since when have you become such a wimp?”

“The snow is supposed to end in the afternoon, then we’ll walk and do some errands.”



“Now! I hate that word.”

“What word, Auss?”

Later! I hate later!

“What about soon?”

“Hate that too!”

This morning I woke up late to see snow. Four hours later it’s still coming down on fall leaves that haven’t fallen yet, flowers still in bloom. I have yet to dig up the dahlia bulbs, I thought, and tonight it’ll go under 20 Fahrenheit. But we did bring the house plants in yesterday. Already they look much happier than they did weathering the chilly nights outdoors.

These seasonal milestones remind me of the circularity of things, which in turn reminds me of something else. “Aussie, you need to learn patience.”

“I need to have my walk. We didn’t walk yesterday at all.”

“It rained all day, Auss.”

“And the day before?”

“It rained, and you still went for a walk in the rain.”

“It was short, doesn’t count.”

“And I’ll warn you right now, Aussie, that tomorrow we have a half-day retreat and I won’t be able to take you for the walk till afternoon.”

“Afternoon! Every self-respecting dog knows that mornings are best for hunting!”

“And Sunday I’m taking part in our Auschwitz retreat on Zoom and I won’t be free before mid-afternoon. No Sunday dog gathering in the conservancy this time.”

“That does it. It’s time for a revolution!”

“Be careful, Aussie. We need so many changes in this country we’re practically begging for a revolution, I admit. But heads roll in revolutions, governments fall, the economy fails, and the poor are always the ones that get hurt worst.”

“Not dogs.”

“Dogs, too, Auss. The most vulnerable among us get hurt even in revolutions that are supposedly for our benefit.”

“You know what I say, Boss? If the system doesn’t work, get rid of it all!”

“Later, Aussie.”

“Now, Boss!”

“I’m nervous about the violence, Aussie.”

“I told you, Boss, you’re a wimp.”

“You may be right. You know, Aussie, Donald Trump likes to compare himself to Abe Lincoln.”

“He’s greater than Lincoln!”

“Many progressives gag. But how many remember all the deals Lincoln tried to make with the South? How many remember that Lincoln offered the South that they could keep slaves till the end of the 19th century—another 40 years of enslaving men, women and children?”

“That’s terrible!”

“Of course it was terrible. Abolitionists railed against him, said he was trying to save the Union on the backs of enslaved men, women and children. Finally we fought a war that killed off three-quarters of a million people, brought an end to slavery in one guise and perpetuated slavery in other guises.”

“And for this they built him a memorial?”

“I still think he was a great man, Aussie, but we never really know anything, you see what I mean?”


“We have to act without really knowing that anything is absolutely right or absolutely wrong.  I think that was true for Lincoln, too. He made his best guess and acted, knowing that in the future people would probably second-guess him. In some way, Aussie, that’s what patience is all about.”

“So when do we go for a walk, Boss?”


“And when do we have an enlightened society, Boss?”

“Soon, Aussie.”

“Not later?”


“I hate that word!”