There is much to be done the day after a snowstorm here on the edge of the Rocky Mountains so Duncan and I ventured out early, moments, it seemed, after the sun first peeked over the horizon, painting the snow a lazy shade of lavender with the faintest trace of orange. I pulled on my boots and coat and the gloves which have been so kind to me these past few years but will soon need replacing, grabbed a pocket full of treats and led Dunc down The Run.
The trees, still covered in their Autumn attire although markedly more naked than they had been just two days before, were bent over themselves under the weight of the snow. As Duncan sniffed and snorted below the crystalline cave of their boughs, I reached in, grabbed their icy limbs and gave them a few quick, hearty tugs, raining bright, fluffy flakes down onto his red head. While I'm not too fond of the inevitable cloud that finds its way under my gloves and creeps down my back, Duncan thinks its a magical event the weather has churned up just for him. He dances on his hind legs and snaps at the air, turning in circles and hopping like a trained poodle. The trees seem to breath a sigh of relief as I let go and watch their heavy limbs stretch back into the air, free of the added weight of the snow. Over and over we did this, all the way down The Run and throughout The Glen, tending to the cowardly and noxious elms who shed their leaves far too early, the low branches of the Japanese Maples and aspens, even the pines and junipers got a good shake down.
After that, and because my back has been very tender as of late, the only other chore that needed tending to was a walk through the park where we could admire the remainder of the Autumn colors kaleidoscoping through the morning glow of the sun and the new Winter white which has laid claim to our corner of the world. These paths are paths we have walked thousands of times. These are the trees we have passed beneath and admired over countless mornings, afternoons and moonlit evenings. But there was something so wondrous about them this morning and the park seemed a new place, a place we either had never visited or hadn't visited in a very long time. Duncan trotted happily ahead and when he spotted something remarkable, like the jagged shapes of the uppermost crust of the snow, or a treasure of golden leaves protruding through the lazing slope of a drift, he'd dart back to me, bark me along and guide me to his discovery. Nothing escaped his eyes or nose; no tree-bound drift slipping free of the branches and leaves and thundering down onto the sidewalk escaped his ears. He did not walk through the park so much as dance and fly from one occurrence to another, his ears raised high, his eyes bright with wonder.
If this is how each and every walk will be from now until April, when Winter finally gives up and allows Spring to return, then I shall be happy indeed, for Duncan will guide me through the days ahead with a joy that is as unquenchable as the sun.