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Fall arrived this morning.  I wasn’t sure it would be putting in an appearance at all; the rainy September days have been warm in the Pacific Northwest so far this year.  But today’s coffee walk was decidedly crisp, and my usual Seattle techie uniform (shorts, hoodie, smartwool socks, and Keens) not quite up to the task.

I love the fall, for a whole host of reasons:  from carving pumpkins to watching football to drinking apple cider, to the leaves turning and the days growing short, to the anticipation of winter ahead.  Generally speaking my favorite season is whatever one we happen to be in at the moment, but fall is special, the moreso as its onset is no longer ruined by the dread of returning to school.  Such is life in the working world; the last of my summer vacations ended long ago.

Maybe it was having a five-month old (five!) strapped to my chest, but for whatever reason, a distant memory from my own childhood crawled up out of my subconscious as I was shuffled over to the Hi-Spot cafe.  This has happened more and more of late,  something about the triple-barreled process of divorce and remarriage and starting a family having left me feeling more connected to – and valuing – my own deep past than I have in years.

Anyway, what came to mind was this.  When I was growing up, there was a tradition in my family, whereby my dad would, sometime around Christmas, perform from memory the entirety of Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee” for we kids’ benefit.

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tails
That would make your blood run cold…”

You are perhaps familiar with the poem – but if not, the link is above.  You’ll thank me later, I promise.

So.  Your humble author is no poet – but I was challenged to cough up a bit of doggerel once, as part of a class assignment.  I’d forgotten about it until this morning.  For no particular reason, I think I’ll share it here, with apologies to basically everyone, and Klee Kai owners* in particular.


Gratuitous picture of a Schipperke pup. Over-simplifying: this plus Siberian Husky equals Klee Kai.

*I got nuthin’ but love, guys.  Miniature huskies are a great idea.  Really.

The Klee Kai’s Lament

From Anchorage to Nome
Where Athabaskans roam
And March winds blow all unfettered

Four dozen proud teams
Paws twitching in dreams
Let’s find out whose alpha is better!

Tomorrow they’ll run
O’er land with no sun
All save this one – whose master won’t let her

For a cruel twist of fate
Keeps me locked in this crate
Like some uselessly floppy-eared setter


From Anchorage to Nome
Claws and teeth; fur and bone!
Legs churning and harnesses straining

Through cold winter’s night
They’re soon lost from sight
Running free after months endless training

Ten days, maybe twelve
Across endless ice shelves
Hearts taxed and strength slowly waning

While I lay back and growl
Snap at hands, bark and howl
Stuck here in the south where it’s raining


From Anchorage to Nome
At last, far from home
Raw meat instead of beef jerky

And there at the end
Victorious with friends
Deeds praised until time has grown murky

I’d run the Iditarod if I could
Race hard through Spruce woods
But I’ve missed my chance to make history

While I might look the part
With dad’s proud Husky heart
My mother, she was a Schipperke