Billy hardly ever even noticed the sun unless it was blinding him right in the eyes. Maybe walking the dogs in the morning as the orb would crest over the western flank of Grotto Mountain, or maybe driving westward home on the Trans Canada after a long day working in the city. These moments offered enough of an offence, enough of something to chew on that Billy could scowl or curse and wish away, something to get his hackles up. But at other times the sun was just a thing that was there, warm at the back of the dog park by the pond but up on the hill before the pond, warm on the dog Maggie with her thick white fur lying and sleeping in the wild grasses with Billy dragging his nails through her fur and across her pink skin underneath. Warm through Billy’s jeans and on the soles of his feet with his shoes kicked off laying against the back of the dog and her breathing like a sigh over and over, slow and melting in the sunlight and the eyes closed and still and peaceful and without a trace of the fear she had come from.
Because she did come from fear. From some abuse and maltreatment, sitting tightly in a corner of the room when Billy first went to see her at the shelter and no eye contact. Panting and panting and only taking water from the palm of the hand, quick, furtive. And an hour after this still only tight in the corner and not moving.
But they brought her home to live in the mountains, her only trusting the other dog for weeks after. On walks in the forest she lingered behind unsure of the leash and distanced from Billy and his girl while the other dog ran through the lodge pole pines and down into the meadow sunken from the old mines. Maggie remained on leash dragging behind and still without eye contact and still tight in her corner and quiet. When they sat on the edge of the meadow in the sun before it tucked in behind the mountain they called the Ship’s Prow Maggie sat too but just off the trail and just in the raspberry bushes before the meadow dipped down. She would be like this for weeks but they let her. She could do what she needed.
Billy hardly noticed the sun in the dog park but for it’s heat on his skin and in the fur of the dog. Just off through the field where the creek ran through another dog splashed through the water. Billy opened his eyes long enough to see a raven black in the sky with its wings still and moving off, the sun not blinding but sliding toward the pass between the western mountains and dusk.