Picture a steely gray late afternoon sky, a fine mist falling, and choppy waves making a few white caps on Lake Superior along the shore of Two Harbors.
Ginsberg and I scramble along the slick rocky shore near the lighthouse park, me picking up stones, Gins toying with pieces of driftwood. As we return to the parking lot, Gins locks his eyes on a gaggle of geese just down the beach. I stop and quietly say his name 3 or 4 times until he finally looks up at me. I tell him we will be leaving the geese alone, and he complies. We walk toward the car and I notice a very very old man sitting in his battered red station wagon, parked near mine. His window is down and he is looking at Ginsberg.
As we get closer, he says in an eastern European accent: "Beautiful beautiful dog." I thank him and get a better look. His skin is gray, there is no color to his lips. He looks almost waxen but his eyes are blue and bright. I mention that Ginsberg is a husky, and he says, "Yah, I know huskies."
I bring Ginsberg over to the man and he puts his paws on the edge of the open window. The man pets him. I am surprised by this, because Ginsberg can be somewhat reserved with strangers. The man says again, "Beautiful beautiful dog." We're quiet for a few seconds.
And then the man says, "What beautiful beautiful friend, what beautiful company God gave us with the dog, yah?"
He has just said in his eastern European accent the exact sentiment I've had these past few days in the north woods in the company of sled dogs. I agree with him and find that I have nothing else to add. He's said it all.
And so I tell him I must leave. He looks me in the eyes now and says slowly and sincerely, "Thank you for your company."
I can't remember the last time someone has thanked me for my company. It makes me cry.
I drive back to the cabin, in the quiet, grace, and company of my blue-eyed Alaskan Husky. And God.