April 27, 2009
Rich: Forget the snow that fell two weeks ago. Lose the boots and the balaclava. Mothball the fleece. Prepare to suffer another stretch of good weather, even great weather, wearing t-shirts, shorts, sandals, and SPF 30.
Most years of my life I'd be thrilled to tell winter to kiss off. I'd be more than ready for sunshine, warm weather, baseball games, and motorcycle rides. But this year is different, way different. I flat out miss winter already.
I don't mean dressing in layers or the frostbitten fingers. Our area, known for its biting winds (they say the hawk flies on those blustery days), had an especially brutal time of it this year.
I miss the solitude that became my morning walk with Boomer. Most pre-Daisy mornings he and I walked before sunrise, waiting vainly for some warmth even as we received the light. It was "me and the Booms," trudging a footpath through the snow, coming back the next day to notice that ours were still the only footprints there. We shared the Prairie Path with the deer, coyotes, a fox, and birds whose songs weren't suppressed by the deepest chill. Sometimes we met another person, but not often. Others had a keener sense of survival, I suppose.
Boomer's everyday enthusiasm eventually softened my winter worldview. Winter started as a world stripped of color. It became a celebration of fiery sunrises. Without leaves the trees revealed their hidden beehives and bird nests. The cardinals and kingfishers stood out on bare branches. The many blues of the winter sky painted the pristine snow and reflected off the waters of a nearby beaver creek and pond.
Boomer wore a yellow collar round his neck, I wore a camera around mine. He explored, I observed. He pointed, I clicked. Once in a while, I could see in his eyes he knew, as did I, we were having the time of our lives.
As I press through this spring, summer, and fall, I know winter's coming back. I'll soon be missing these days of green grass, motorcycle trips, and baseball games.
But for now, believe it or not, winter memories still warm my heart.