top of page

Siberian Night

I had written this when I was in Kingston, Ontario at Teacher's College.  In one class they allowed us to create our own assignment and so I decided that I would write four short stories ~ this was one of them.

It was a strange year because it wasn't much fun and most of my time each day was spent inside the walls of MacArthur Hall where all my classes were.  The main view that I recall was from the windows in the library ~ the view was of the Prison for Women that was right across the street.  Little was I aware at the time that I myself was in a kind of prison too that year ~ another year of my life that I had spent in a 'classroom' setting often forgetting that the best class rooms I had been in were once that had no walls.  I learned more on a nine day wilderness canoe leadership course which led to years of employment doing what I loved ~ leading wilderness canoe trips.  

No wonder why I always loved that quote by Mark Twain, "Don't let schooling interfere with your education."

A February night, over a foot of fresh snow carpets the chilled earth. With the storm passing, the night was greeted by a waxing moon two days to full. I turned the light off in my room and was amazed to see the brightness outside. It was 12:13 a.m.

Nook, the Siberian pure bred Samoid, was downstairs in the kitchen. I could see him now lying under the table in a fitful sleep, dreaming about his homeland. His ancestral images, locked in a remote part of his being, were coming alive; Plowing through piles of snow, playing with others of his kind, speaking a different language. Sensing his restlessness, I felt obligated to allow him to enjoy what was waiting just outside the kitchen door.

I put my book down, crawled out of my bean bag and dressed for the occasion. Since my landlady was fast asleep, I tip-toed downstairs and slowly opened the kitchen door. I should have guessed what I saw ~ Nook was standing facing me as if he knew I was thinking about him all along.

Leaving the shelter of our home, we were both amazed by the snow that had fallen; Half way to my knees, close to his shoulders. We ran to the park both laughing. In the field, for the first time, I decided to let him be free ~ no leash and off like a caged bull let loose, leaving a motionless wake of snow in his path.

It was exhilarating to witness the true spirit of Nook; Playful, energized, a sense of freedom even though he was half way around the world from his real home. I let him take advantage of this rare opportunity, escaping the confines of his urban home. While he played I lay down on the soft bed of snow, it was warm. Looking up through my breath the heavens revealed a bright moon among thousands of stars. I felt so small and insignificant. No sounds at all, the city was sleeping. I could have been in Siberia, maybe we bother were for a brief moment. A while later, I realized I had been mesmerized by the scene when I felt a warm nose brush against my cheek, “I am ok,” I whispered.

We said goodbye to his little Siberian oasis in the concrete city. It was time to head back. We tracked some snow in and putting him back in the kitchen I wished him a good night.

Falling asleep was easy, it probably was for Nook as well. We both had something to look forward to in our dreams.

bottom of page