The Dog and the snow


“Carmen won’t stand alive more than two days”(1)….her body showed frostbite signs and damaged muscles due to low temperatures. She almost couldn’t move her legs and the skin, hidden by her coat, was burned because of the harsh climate to the mountains. Her gaze looked hard and fragile at the same time due to the pain, perhaps for the sensibility that normally the high mountain’s dogs have.

Later, I got more information about this dog’s life history. Curiously , Carmen was one of these few dogs who use to go with the professional climbers and mountaineers into the exploration of the high mountain. Carmen stopped for looking a woodpecker and she got lost from the rest of the team in the middle of the savage mountain. When she became aware about the danger of being alone, she opened her attentive eyes and howled so high than she could. This was a self-preservation gesture, trying to find someone and come back to home in company. But no one answered, neither other dogs nor human traces…she was isolated, in the middle of whatever place.

First, the fear let her motionless, as the memorial sculpture upon the I World War which is located in the Predeal square, next to the train station. Later, Carmen though that this behavior wouldn’t be practical and she started to walk toward the forest, with the only map she had: her insight. Time was running…. until the sunset. The night arrived and covered trees and stones to darkness. The temperatures  fell down until -15ºC. These circumstances are very dangerous for an animal that doesn’t have refuge or the habit of living in that awful environment. Carmen had serious problems. However, she kept the calm and tied some plastics  on her legs, helping herself with her teeth, for protecting better from the cold. She was walking all the night without stop. There had moments where her heart sounded slower than her legs, as a sort of prayer for resting, but she didn’t let her consciousness to stop. She put in practice some breathing exercices which she had learned when exploring  Central America’s vulcanos, when traveling through Guatemala and the Egypt oasis and deserts, where climate also is extreme by the hot. But at the end, those methods were useful and Carmen could keep the rhythm without stop. Making a pause in this situation would have meant her death. Her mind also hesitated in some points. She thought that there would not find any hope. But there was something inside Carmen that made her continuing a bit more and more.

Perhaps the last thing she reminds is a feeling between warm and bitter. Bitter, because the pain produced by the wind and cold made wounds over most of her body. Warm, because before falling down, her owner saw a peaceful and relaxation into her eyes, like someone who is at the end of a sort of fight between the Nature and her Wild. Carmen is still alive because she believed in her own insight, because she created her rules despite of the rude climate. She just tried…and she just won!!!

I don’t know if her body will overcome the damage….Probabily, if she gets it, I am sure that Carmen will come back to the mountains of Predeal.

(1) the first sentence of this short story belongs to Jack Londond’s tale Stories from Alaska.


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