Sol­stice With Dog

Pasatiempo - - Essays - by Zoë Moser

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.

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