|looking up, under the barn floor|
|Popeye's February Portrait|
A Portrait of Max, Nose and Paws - Stories to sniff and great rumors of travel, 2/11/2012
Her father had taught her about hands. About a dog’s paws. Whenever her father was alone with a dog in a house he would lean over and smell the skin at the base of its paw. This, he would say, as if coming away from a brandy snifter, is the greatest smell in the world! A bouquet! Great rumors of travel! She would pretend disgust, but the dog’s paw was a wonder: the smell of it never suggested dirt. It’s a cathedral! her father had said, so-and-so’s garden, that field of grasses, a walk through cyclamen - a concentration of hints of all the paths the animal had taken during the day.
— Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
After reading this passage one day quite a long time ago…I never saw a dog’s paws in the same way ever again. That’s the power of a good book. (That never made it into the movie.)