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英语美文:雪中漫步

作者:admin    文章来源:盐田区外国语学校    更新时间:2017-12-29

【美文阅读系列】雪中漫步
 In the beginning, I walked around the block. Or a couple of blocks. It didn’t seem to matter. That it didn’t matter was in itself novel1). It had been a long time since I had gone out without any particular destination or direction, without knowing whether I was going to turn left or right at the end of the front walk.
  I had no idea where all this was leading, though I like to think that even then I felt something tugging2) below the surface, the way a fisherman feels vibrations on a taut3) line and wonders whether something’s biting or it’s just the weight brushing at the bottom.
  The simple aimlessness of it made me feel like a kid again. Back then, I was always out, had to be out, couldn’t bear not being out. Home from school, I shed books and disappeared, the parental refrain of “be home in time for dinner” trailing behind me.
  Pete, with his boundless enthusiasm for the outside world, was like the reincarnation4) of that juvenile self. We’d hit the sidewalk and, like two kids with nothing special to do, spend a half hour meandering5) about. We were suburban vagabonds6). In the mornings, with the whole world rushing to get somewhere, there was something almost subversive7) about roaming around with a companion who had no responsibilities.
  And every once in a while, there’d be a night when the simple act of going away from the house and not coming back was like a scene from It’s a Wonderful Life8). I remember one snowy night. This was one of those times when I really didn’t want to go out with the dog. There had been a party; I was a little tipsy9); the house was warm; my bed beckoned10). I had practically forgotten that we had a dog until I heard Pete’s desperate reminder, a single yip11), issued from the direction of the front door.
  I felt put upon12). What was the story with this animal, this beast with its primitive needs? How could it continually rely on me to provide this escort13) service? Was it my fault that dogs hadn’t kept up with their evolutionary development? Where did this sense of entitlement14) come from? Was there a clause in some ancient contract between people and dogs?
  I tried the last refuge15) of the reluctant dog walker—opening the back door and pointing to the backyard. Shouldn’t that be good enough? Do I expect a trip to the bathroom to be recreational? Get it over with, while I watch from the window. But Pete was having none of it. It was a showdown16). All or nothing. He was incredibly stubborn sometimes. It had to be a real walk, him and me together, out the front door into the bigger world.   Finally, cursing loudly, I surrendered. Pete watched my every move as I put on boots, coat, scarf, and hat. At least he had the tact17) to forgo the celebratory tap dance18). Out we went into the gentle night.
  The snow was coming down hard, in big, sticky flakes. I shuffled down the walk, plowing two clean lines with my feet. The snow clung to every horizontal surface—tree branches, the curving contours19) of cars, house roofs, and porch railings.
  The houses were all dark—not even the flicker20) of TV light. My virtuous neighbors were all asleep. No cars had come up the street yet. By morning, it would be plowed, shoveled, compressed, salted, melted, blown away. But for now, snowflakes lay undisturbed in airy piles.
  I let Pete off the leash. He trotted21) ahead, up the hill, pausing to raise his leg at the fire hydrant22). Even the hydrant’s small hexagonal23) top had a perfect plug of snow standing on it. The air was bracing24), like a pinch of snuff25) in each nostril.
  It was, in a word, beautiful. And I found myself reflecting once again on this minor miracle of dog walking: how, forced to do something—even something you really, really didn’t want to do—you could end up feeling grateful for it.
  I felt wide-awake and strangely energetic. In the streetlights, I could see the precise slant26) of the snowfall. The low cloud ceiling reflected the light from the nearby city, making the sky unnaturally bright. I made a few snowballs and tossed them in Pete’s direction. They disintegrated in the snow at his feet. Finally, he caught one on the fly—or at least half of it.

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