White Dog and the White Dog Army can feel the change. It is cool in the mornings when we wake. No longer is the swamp cooler needed to keep us comfortable during the day; it is the perfect time of year when open windows and doors let in perfect breezes and long tawny light. It is getting dark earlier in the evening. Things have a feel of transition.
The downside of the creeping toward winter is that joints ache a bit more for the older members of the Army and suddenly stretching out on the cool tile isn't as inviting as curling up in the pillow's warmth. Baby birds no longer chirp outside the window and the leaves are beginning to whisper "Change."
Nuka in particular is feeling the melancholia of Summer's fade. She still struggles with the loss of her best friend, Quinn, and has over the past days spent more time lying on his Tribute Stone seeking its comfort. She is achy and it is a delicate balance to control her old age pains with too much dependence on pain meds. Another White Dog spends a lot of time these days staring dreamily at the rustling leaves, not quite in the here and now, but I think, peacefully remembering.
The rest of the WDA senses Nuka's bittersweet state and are worried. My Beautiful Ugly Duckling and I have had talks and she is not ready to give up, nor has she lost her will to live. "Things are different this Autumn," she tells me, "I feel it. It is strange and sad and I feel out of synch." I understand what my girl is saying; often these days I get that same sense that the world is changing into something I do not fathom. I hold her in my arms and we share the balm of empathy, often in the dark in the middle of the night when all the world is quiet save us.
And the Army? They do what they always do. That amazing instinct that makes my pack completely able to overcome every challenge. They unite and form a shield of love.