50. Icy Sidewalks

Dear Tera,

Some days, the superiority of quadrapeds is so evident that I’m amazed that humanoids don’t get down on their hands and knees and enjoy the world with the rest of us.

Sure, they would lose some of their height advantage.  But height is only an advantage for those poor creatures who must rely upon sight for their information.  Being closer to the ground is much better for those of us who are blessed with long noses and big ears.

Who knows?  Maybe after a thousand years or ten crawling on their hands and knees, humanoids would start to develop the kinds of olfactory and aural senses that the rest of us take for granted.

But if they became four-legged creatures, humanoids would definitely lose their ungainliness on ice.  What silly creatures they are, negotiating their way over the sidewalks these days.  They step so tentatively.  They flail so desperately.  They fall so hard.

And then, of course, their height becomes a disadvantage.  You and I fall B which could happen, in theory, I suppose B and no damage done.  There’s not enough distance between us and the ground to work up any momentum.  When Alpha takes a tumble, you can feel the ice tremble beneath your feet.

With the Pup, it’s different.  He’s much more adventurous, sliding across the ice when it’s smooth enough for sliding, tramping through the snow drifts if he finds the uneven ice tough going.  Something about young humanoids that keeps them in touch with their inner canine.  Maybe it’s because they’re still closer to the ground.  Maybe it’s because they don’t feel it’s a loss of dignity to roll around with us in the snow.

But adult humanoids venture on the sidewalks with this anxious look of trepidation, as if every ridge and slick of ice hides a hungry predator crouching in wait to bring them down.

From their perspective, the sidewalks have been a real mess these past weeks.  Something about all the street cleaners being off on holiday during the ice storms.  When humanoids take us for a walk, either they stick to the centre of the well-salted roads, or they labour their way over the mountains and valleys of frozen footprints, slick ice puddles, and miniature mountains and moraines of hard-frozen slush. 

They agonize in their efforts to remain upright.  You can tell this is a real workout for them.  And they complain about it.  Yet, they spend hundreds of dollars on health clubs, taking pilates lessons to develop their core body strength, when all they really need to do is take a dog for a walk on today’s sidewalks.

And meanwhile, we trot along, happy to be out in the snow, thankful that the slush ponds have frozen into something less chilly on the paws, and glad to be alive and a dog of the world.  Yes, humanoids have much to learn.  And they can start by getting down on all fours.

Loving this weather,