Solstice With Dog
My family’s main holiday celebration is on solstice. Solstice is traditionally observed on Dec. 21. Solstice marks the beginning of winter, and that means that it is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The precise moment at which the sun reaches the winter solstice varies each year. In the United States, many sources say that it occurs about Dec. 22.
We always open presents on Dec. 22. We celebrate the night before, too. We also buy a tree, which we call a “solstice tree.” My mom makes homemade hot chocolate every year. It is so delicious with its spicy aroma, its smooth creamy texture, and the homemade chocolate whipped cream on top. It is by far the most delicious thing about my mom’s holiday cooking.
Two years ago at solstice time in Tesuque, it had snowed several feet by noon. My red dog, named Dog, and I really wanted to go play outside so we went to ask my mom. Naturally, my mom said “yes,” so Dog and I went to get ready. Getting ready was very difficult. First, there were the ginormous snow pants, and those take forever to put on. Then there was the huge snow jacket. I felt like the Abominable Snow Monster as soon as I put it on. The next items were the snow boots. Those aren’t so bad, but they are heavy. Last but not least, there was the gloves, and that year those gloves weren’t very warm.
Once I was dressed, Dog and I went outside, and I got the sled out of the shed. There was this very steep hill by our house that was perfect for sledding. Dog and I made our way through the snow toward the big hill. When we reached the top, I got on the sled and started to slide down. Then Dog came bolting after me. She weighs about 50 pounds. I was so busy looking at Dog chasing me down the hill that my sled and I sailed straight into a sticker bush. I scrambled out of the bush and pulled the sled out with me. Just then, Dog caught up with me and slammed into me so hard that she knocked me down.
At that point Dog started biting my hand and tugging at my glove. Dog was hyper. She pulled my glove off and ran off with it. She wanted me to chase her, but she was too fast. I just stopped and sat down on the sled. When Dog saw me just sitting, she dropped the glove and ran off again. Exasperated, I went to get the glove, trudged back to the sled at the bottom, and pulled it back up the hill.
As if that wasn’t enough, Dog took my sled by the ropes and started pulling it down the hill before I could get on it. She was running. I ran down after her. When I finally caught up, I jumped on the sled. Dog let go of the ropes. It was so fun. I dragged the sled back up the hill, and we did this several times before I got tired and just sat down on the sled to relax. Dog ran off again.
Off in the distance, I could see Dog looking for rabbits. I looked down at my glove and saw that it had been torn pretty bad during our wrestling match. I whistled for Dog, and she came bounding up the hill toward me. Dog and I headed back to the house. I was worried about my glove. I thought my mom would scold me for being careless. We went inside. I took off my snow gear and went to look for my mom.
I found her in the kitchen stirring something. When I told her about my glove, she laughed. She said that she had been watching us and was laughing her head off. She said I needed a better pair of gloves anyway. I was so relieved. She wasn’t mad after all. Just then, she handed me a cup of hot chocolate with tons of whipped cream and then read me a book. It was the most memorable solstice ever.