Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Remember

I love the mornings, especially the snowy ones. I love the deep silence of the world and the sound of snow falling on other snow, through the branches of the Aspens and willows. I love that first plunge outside when the wind swirls around my ankles as though sniffing me out for weak spots, pulling dancing flakes around me as it goes. I love the music of silence and snow and the bass rhythm of my feet pushing through the soft sift, the crunch, as satisfying as walking through piles of leaves in October.

I tend to forget these things, though. Snow, it seems, like time, whitewashes my memory, ensconcing its rough edges and straight plains with the crystalline ivory of winter's down. But Duncan is here to remind me, as he did this morning when I woke before him, tiptoed down the hall and into the kitchen where I put my water on to boil. I pulled the blinds and looked out on the swirling white of this December morning and caught my breath. It was beautiful, looking over the golf course and the park and the mountains beyond them, the clouds low and white, the ground and trees the color of the sky. But it looked cold and I'd almost made up my mind to climb back into bed when I felt the cool nudge of Duncan's nose in my palm. He had crept out of bed, tousle-headed and quiet to stand with me at the window, his still-lazing tail making a feeble wag and thump against my calf.

"Do you know," I asked him, my voice soft in the quiet of the apartment, "how much I love you?" I turned and gestured out the window. "I love you this much, Roo, enough to go out in that." He nudged me with his cheek, like a cat, and plopped down to watch me change my clothes, make a production out of pulling my boots and hat on, struggle with the zipper on my coat, slide my hands into my gloves, still wet from last night's last walk. And when I was done he was waiting, his soft weight pressed against me, his eyes lit up as though to say, "You love this; you've just forgotten is all. We'll remember it together. I'll show you. Trust me."

And so I did. I stepped out into the breezeway, down the stairs and out into a world that was swirling and churning, cold on my face and those narrow places on my wrists that poke through between the coat sleeve and the glove. Duncan trotted through the snow, pushing it forward, little balls of it riding the crest like dolphins before a ship. He ran forward like I run on late Spring days when the Russian Olives are in bloom and I don't want to miss a single moment of their existence, a single fragrance or tiny yellow petal, when life seems so full but so short and there is much to be absorbed to earn my way into the next life. Duncan ran like that, here and there, from the fence to the low shrubs, to the patios where other dogs watched, dry but with the tips of their noses white and shiny with cold.

And then halfway down The Run he stopped, suddenly and sharp, the snow rising in cartoon-perfect clouds behind him. He turned his face up to the low sky, closed his eyes and breathed in the tumbling flakes, some of them falling on the soft skin of his eyelids. I was next to him wondering what it was that had caught his attention when the sound of the chimes from a balcony above us drifted into my ears. They churned softly in the spinning air, random, twinkling aluminum and bamboo notes caught on the wind, a quiet tune played only for the two of us. Duncan did not know them for what they were and I wondered if he thought, "Ah, the sound of winter." And his wonderment became my wonderment and it was then that I remembered I love these mornings, perhaps more than Spring mornings among the bees and the new grass bending up through dark earth. I pulled the hat from my head and turned my face into the falling snow and breathed it in as my dog was teaching me to do, and those chimes sounded like the way I imagine heaven must sound.

Where my dog goes I will follow. Always.


Finn said...

There is nothing quite like the snow and being the first ones out in it. Enjoy it!

GOOSE said...

Beautiful. I love walking with MOM in new snow.

Sierra Rose said...

Amazing! Can just feel the cold air, soft snows, and Duncan encouraging you both out into the snowy world.
Sierra Rose is definitely my nudge for being outside more, and delighting in things she shows me.... Ah!
We have not seen snow yet this winter...but hope to soon.

Big hugs,
Sierra Rose