We awoke to a find dusting of snow a few days ago. We'd been warned it could be much greater and were relieved to discover the error, unlike a few weeks ago when we were told to expect flurries and got ten inches instead. Duncan seemed content both ways and frolicked as he always does, galloping down The Run, pouncing through the shrubs with the hope of scattering the little birds from the snow caves which have formed beneath them. He loves the gentle slope of The Run, which is on the north side of the complex and thus protected from the sun and melt and is still covered in a thick layer of packed snow and ice. He throws himself onto his side, attempts to push his face into the crust and then rolls and rolls until he's slid a good way down the hill to the edge of the fence that divides us from the golf course. Many a morning he's slid, oblivious, right under it only to come up on the other side, where he jerks up, startled by his accidental progress and the wild, tall brown reeds and brittle thistle bones jutting up around him. He knows he's not allowed back there, not even when a tantalizing, stray golf ball beckons, and is usually quick to return, his head high, tail wagging happily as though to remind me what a good boy he is for coming right back to me without being told.
After he'd stirred up the little birds and tended to the morning's sliding, he got down to business, turning his back to me and looking up at the trees while he squatted at the top of the hill. I respect the awkwardness of the moment and turn my attention to the squirrels chittering profanities at us from their perches in the elms above while I ready the doggie bag for clean-up and the treat he gets for a job well done. After a few moments I turned back to him and noticed he was staring down at the ground in front of him, right between his front paws. Plink, a little bit of business fell and then slid down the ice right between his legs and out of reach under the fence where it settled in the newly fallen powder. Duncan glanced up at me as though to ask, "Well, how do we handle that???" Then plink! plink! plink! three more pieces fell, tumbling and bouncing on the ice, sliding between his legs and under the fence. He watched them spin away and vanish in the fluff, his ears and curious eyebrows raised high. When he was done he spun around to see if anything remained, perhaps confused by the physics and gravity of the situation, then hurried back to me to see if he still got his treat, which he did. And I got to save a bag.