I never noticed before how much a dragon resembles a giraffe. The long snout, the snaky neck — the only difference is that one has cute fuzzy markings and the other is scaly and reptilian. Oh, and the wings.

As I said last night, the dragon in our backyard is friendly enough. Dejah and Summer — especially Summer, the 1-year-old — love to play with it. They dart around its legs and sniff nuzzle-to-nose like kittens around a doting aunt. The dragon seems to sense it could smash our golden retrievers without a thought, and so it is always conscious and thoughtful as they frolic together.

What is it that troubles the dragon so? As soon as the dogs come inside, the dragon sits and resumes its vigil. Always, its eyes scan the sky and the horizon to the north, as if it knows what it expects to see and is ready to meet whatever that threat is.

I feel the threat may be imminent, but it just as easily could be months or even years off. And why did the dragon choose our backyard to prepare its stand? Is this simply a strategic location — hard to believe because, while we are on a hill, there is higher ground above us — or is there something special about this home or its occupants? Surely we are just an average and ordinary older couple. Our retrievers are sweet and loving, but most retrievers are. Could it be the cat? Could there be something valuably mystical about a black cat of 15 years that yowls incessantly day and night? Are the yowls a warning against the danger the dragon awaits?

What can all this mean? Why is the dragon here? What is the yowling about? Part of me prays this vigil will not become some apocryphal battle until after we are safely departed to the next world or our just desserts, whichever is more pleasant. Part of me realizes it’s more likely we have been chosen to stand this ground and help the dragon defend against whatever is coming.

I have no idea what that is — what menace would I need a dragon’s help to fight? Why here? And why now, if indeed it will be now? All that seems certain is it’s coming from the north and that its existence troubles an otherwise friendly and playful dragon.

And so, like refugees in Casablanca during other troubled times, we wait — and wait — and wait — and wait. 

Giraffe photo © Kittichai Songprakob |

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