When the snowfall turned our neighborhood into Narnia, my husband and I put on boots and hats and gloves and scarves, clipped the leash to the dog's collar, and set out for a walk around the block. There was way too much snow for a camera, and I knew I'd have to memorize the walk—the way it looked like a silent movie, with the color all sucked out.
We walked the center of the road in ruts left behind by the wheels of a lone vehicle. Under branches bending low above us, I imagined military brass, holding swords above the bride and groom who ducked beneath—arm in arm—her skirts hitched up in the hand that held the bouquet. Our dog rushed ahead and pulled up short at the end of the leash, then spun in circles 'til she'd wrapped her legs tight like a calf at the mercy of a rodeo cowboy.
It was quiet—except for the sound of our boots and our voices muffled by the blanket at our feet. The dog got free, and we shortened the leash.
We turned the corner and wet snow nipped at our faces. I squinted my eyes behind my sunglasses and tucked my head deeper into the hood of my coat, lined with fake fur that hung heavy like a fringe above my glasses, laden with wet snow and blocking my view.
I had balled my hands into fists to keep warm, leaving the fingers of my gloves to hang empty, so when he handed me the leash, I wasn't quite ready. But he was turning back to a sports car we'd seen stuck in the snow. I slid my fingers into the parts of my gloves left cold by the winds, and reached out to hold the leash. I waited in the ruts left behind by that car now spinning its wheels in the snow.
The driver got out holding a shovel, and hacked at the snow near the wheels that had spun. He didn't wear gloves. He spotted my husband and got back in the drivers' seat, and I saw my husband brace himself with one foot ahead of the other. He leaned in and pushed, and the wheels still spun.
Beside me, the dog's ears twitched, and I turned to see a man walking in the rut behind me. "Nice day," he said as he passed us by, and the dog shook off a layer of snow.
Now there were two men behind that car, and the gloveless man inside. This time they pushed, and the car made its way to the intersection and onto the streets beyond. I saw one gloveless hand wave thanks as the car turned the corner. There was cheering, and there was clapping, and we exchanged high-fives. My husband took the leash, and the other guy went back to his snow blower and his driveway.
"Have a nice day," he tossed over his shoulder.
"You too," we said.
And my husband said, "So that's how it works," and I thought he was talking about shovels and rear-wheel drive and stuff like that, so I said, "Yep. Rear-wheel drive."
But he said, "No. I mean community. That's how community works." And I tucked my hand into the space between his elbow and his side, where it was warm.
Image by Tommaso Meli. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Deidra Riggs.