The White Wolf

We live in an interesting neighborhood.  Lined with hundred year-old camphor trees and houses that were built back when downtown was all there was to Fresno, the street appears grand and solid.  But downtown Fresno isn’t what it was a hundred years ago.  It’s the forgotten part of Fresno now.  And under our grand trees it’s the forgotten people who go walking by, a mixture of car thieves, poor immigrants, poor Mennonites (that would be us), not-so-poor Mennonites (that would be our friends who have jobs at Fresno Pacific), and some few lingering mansion owners who almost remember the past glory of the street.

And there are the packs of stray dogs.  Well, not always packs.  Sometimes they walk around alone.  But there seem to be stray dogs everywhere.  Most of them are small and nondescript.  Some look a lot like our dog, brownish chihuahua mixes of varying sizes.  On Monday, however, I saw what must be the king of the strays, or the queen, as the case may be.  It was a huge white wolf sort of dog.  It came right into our front yard and pranced across the lawn.  Our dog went crazy, jumping on the couch and barking wildly at it through the window.

It makes me think of Narnia and the White Witch, and all the fantasy adventures I’ve ever read.  It was as if some memory of the past had drifted down from the old trees with the autumn leaves and was dusting our street with possibility.  It was no longer just a tired, modern, litter-strewn road.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see one of the old trees pull up it’s roots and wave at me as it walked by.  Well, I would have been surprised, but you know what I mean.

Otherwise, life goes on.  The car that was stolen last week got found in a parking lot across town.  The stereo had been removed, but otherwise the car was undamaged.   I’m starting to think seriously about where to plant daffodils.  It’s getting cooler in the mornings.  Peter and I are wading through world history and biology and Joseph is already worrying about what masters degree he should get.  He’s 11 years old and they’re already talking to the kids about it at school.  Goodness gracious.  Then again, one of those Mughal or Ottoman guys (or was it Safavid?) conquered half of India or something when he was 11.  (It’s Peter’s world history class, not mine, so I reserve the right not to remember the details).

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