This is the time to be slow,

Lie low to the wall

Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let

The wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself

And your hesitant light.

That’s part of a poem by John O’Donahue. Isn’t it perfect for these freezing days of winter, Aussie?”

“I hope you’re grateful, that’s all I can say.”

“Why, Auss?”

“Because it’s freezing outside. Not just freezing, fucking freezing, and who loves you and takes you out on a walk in this weather? Moi.”

“You take me out for a walk?”

“Who else? Certainly not the illegal Chihuahua Henry, shivering inside on three blankets and two pillows with a quilt over his head. Illegal ain’t leaving the house till May.”

“I thought I’m the one taking you out on walks.”

“Please! The Great Man is right, they’re poisoning our blood and making it thinner, like their Mexican blood, that’s why I have to drag you out so that you don’t get fatter than you already are.”

“Give me a break, Aussie.”

“Answer me this: Who has to wait for who to put on layers before she goes out?”



“It’s who has to wait for whom, Aussie.”

“Right, it’s moi. Who has to wait for who to put on two pairs of socks?”


“And the heavy boots with the thigamajigs on the bottom?”

“The yak-trax so that I don’t slip on the snow and ice.”

“That red thing you put on your head?”

“Woolen hat.”

“The thigamajigs on your hands?”


“The snake wrapped around your neck?”


“Would you be doing this without me?”

“No, Aussie.”

“Who’s the great bodhisattva, taking you out on your daily walks?”

“You are, Aussie. But you know what amazes me? It’s to see Jason and Emily taking down two trees in this weather. Emily didn’t come in today, just Jason, but she’s just as much of a trooper as he is.”

“And he doesn’t wear a hat or gloves. Of course, he’s younger, healthier, thinner, kind of cute with his thick hair and beard. I bet he and I could have a great romp in the snow, unlike me and you-know-who, who recites all that drivel.”

“Poetry, Aussie, is not drivel. I greatly appreciate the people who work outdoors in this weather. Jason and Emily taking down two trees to give us more sunlight, Steve and his crew who will come in to replace our 35-year-old roof, and then Bill’s crew will install solar panels.”

“We don’t need solar panels, we have electricity and oil heat.”

“The world needs solar panels, Auss, but who’d have thought people would be working in ten to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit? Jason said that when he climbs the trees, the wind chill factor is ferocious. And I’m thrilled to see how many women are working in these crews. When I was younger, roofing and tree work were not open to women.”

“I wish they’d stay home; I love having the guys to myself. Did you see Steve’s eyes when he saw me? He was ready to take me home with him—and I bet he loves Donald Trump.”

“How do you know that, Aussie?”

“He was a big guy.”

“Big guys like Donald Trump?”

“Naturally. He wore a heavy flannel shirt, nothing too colorful, a thick red parka without a hoodie. No North Face heated vest for him, he’s no wimp, he’s a guy guy—and you know who they vote for.”

“Aussie, it’s dangerous to make such generalizations.”

“Only he didn’t drive a truck with a dead deer in the back and there wasn’t an American flag hanging out the window.”

“Jason drives a big truck for the wood he cuts down.”

“Yes, but he works with Emily, a woman. They’ll go for Camelot Joe.”

“Camelot Joe, Aussie?”

“Kamala and Joe. Can’t we hire somebody else to take down those trees?”

“Aussie, here’s the last lines of that poem by John O’Donahue:

If you remain generous,

Time will come good;

And you will find your feet

Again on fresh pastures of promise,

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning.”

“Sounds like another Camelot voter to me.”

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