Nearly midnight and freezing. The return of Arctic chill has cleared the streets; tonight is among the quietest I’ve seen Union Square, before the subway lets out, that is. A young man, stoned and chatty, exits my building with me, asks for the nearest ATM, then disappears. The temperature is easily below zero fahrenheit when the wind whips, which is often. My wool hat itches my widow’s peaks; my earmuffs hush the already quiet side street. I am nicely alone, chilled but peaceful, head filled with sophomoric prose trying to commemorate the evening, impatient to get home.

The dog, on the other hand, charges ahead, wholly unaffected by the cold, straining his leash to investigate every scent and speck, wondering why no other dogs are in the run. Because it’s cold, Dog, that’s why. If only we all had his fur coat.