Snow Dogs

9 02 2012

The Roman snow is mere memory today, but memories are things that sometimes haunt. I smell more flakes on a breeze calling from mountains to the east. I think my Contessa knows it’s on the way, as well. I led the way as she carried heavy bags of critical supplies into our elevator: A new can of tennis balls, 3 special chew toys, a squeaky, fluffy imitation squirrel that smells like a polyester-clad tourist and a large bag of my favorite kibble (organic, duck and pea). These are the perks of a rare “snow-pocolypse”.

Another perk? Slipping our way across the thankfully level Piazza del Popolo and up the steep steps to the winter wonderland of the Pincio. Dogs romping and racing through snow until the ice between their toes begs them to stop; eating snowballs launched by laughing children (who, by the way, sound much like a pack of puppies) and making snow dogs.

 

I crafted three last Monday. Terriers, of course. Used my nose to push and pack and my artistic talent (mother’s side of the family) to sculpt the creatures. If we get more snow, I plan to do a series: Scotties, Rats and Russells.  It didn’t hurt that the Villa Borgese is nearby. Bernini has always been an inspiration.

Apollo and Daphne,

Pluto and Proserpina…

 

…Truth Unveiled by Time.

I was proud of my work. Tail held high and nose in the air all the way home. Alas, today, the work was merely memory under a fifty-degree clear sky and an icy puddle of H2O.

I suppose that I am a bit of a fraud. No Bernini here. Mere dog, save the fact that, though my creation had not the lasting effect of Bernini’s Truth Unveiled by Time, that is, in fact, exactly what happened.

Art mimics life as life mimics art, no?

Chow.





Nevica

4 02 2012

Driving in the big grey car with the butter-soft leather seats and the whole vehicle smalls of truffles. The Contessa holds them in a glass jar full of risotto: A succulent dish that will be served up later with only the truffle scent hinting at the current pleasure those kernels enjoy.

Now, we carry the prize to uncle Giglio in Rome.  He will use the truffles in his famous linguine for one night only. Customers and friends in the know will line up at his trattoria doors promptly at 8:30pm.  We will be there.  I sit in the back seat, nose against the chilly window watching the snow fly, drooling at the idea of the coming meal. Soon the snow will turn to rain as we approach the Tiber valley and the Eternal City. Good thing, I think, for Roma has no plows.

But the snow does not stop by the time we reach the city.  The cobbled streets of Rome have lost their etching. Road-noise is absent. The Ferrari tires glide, no, slip along the icy via. The Count swears under his breath as great glazed domes into view.

Marble statues wear coats of white mink. The umbrella pines on the Pincian hill stand like bas-relief on a slab of ancient glacier.

Effervescent Rome is dampened, the bustling city muffled under a white dome more grand than any other in sight.

The Contessa puts a hand to her mouth as we pass the Pantheon. She whispers as though her words are a secret, “Fermiamo qui.”

The Count pulls over and we quit the car, walking on the silent cushion of snow toward the most beautiful building in Rome. The Contessa pulls me into her fur coat and we enter the vacant Pantheon. There in the center is a miracle: A column of flakes descends from the oculus as a alabaster pillar and I wonder if this is the way the marble columns of Rome were created.  At it’s base the marble floor is blanketed in a perfect round of white, pedestal to the heavenly pillar.

All things a dog sees are miraculous.  This is the way of a dog. Every day is new and all things possible.

Even “nevica” in Rome and ancient pillars made from snow.

Chow.





Dog Logic

1 02 2012

Off to truffle hunt this morning.  Just as the truffles reach their peak of flavor and scent  the season wanes.  Wild pigs grow irritated at approaching unavailability of those elusive funghi.

Soon they’ll be relegated to lesser treasures: Nuts, berries, carrion…and the occasional eyeing of a certain small dog. Morning fog grunts in the background as we make our way through the wood. Leaves crackle under the oak trees hidden in the mist.

We are surrounded by boar guarding that remnants of those white diamonds beneath the soil.  We walk on up the mountain.

A half mile beyond we find a large oak, acorns strewn across it’s feet, the scent of truffle hangs just below the mist, dog-nose level.  The dig is on.

My people sift the dirt landing behind my rear legs.  Soon the small, round basket is full.  A weeks worth of truffle heaven, secured.

Truffle Butter slathered upon al dente Fettucini;

Truffled Porchetta; Clafoutis with Morels and Truffles; Truffles Fontina; Fried eggs with Truffle Shavings…Truffle Ice Cream.

There is a God.

There is a Dog.

Dog Logic the morning after: To be, one must eat; I eat, therefore, I am; Pigs eat truffles, I eat truffles.

You see where I’m going here?

Chow.








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