When we first start our walk, my dog and I, snow swirls around us, forcing me to hibernate in the furred hood of my winter coat. The snow tapers and I pull back my hood, opening my ears to soft sounds of a winter morning in the forest.
My dog’s paws crunch the papery leaves littered on the forest floor, like nature’s biggest suicide pact. My boots squeak on the new snow layering the rocky path. A bird sings sweetly and then falls silent. We cross a stream that giggles and somersaults its way to the large creek, which greets the silly stream with solemn fullness and little time for acrobatics. “Come on, Come on,” the creek says. “We must be off.” And with her children cradled within her wide banks, the creek marches, purposeful and hurried, over the falls.
We walk on in the hushed morning until the strident honking of a goose barges into the quiet. Is she admonishing or pleading? My dog and I do not know. We turn to head back the way we came and I see that the sun has perched herself on the very top of the hill there. She kisses the tips of the trees that reach for her and whispers promises to warm them in due time, promises that she would never leave for good.
Nearing the end of the walk, the sun shrouds herself in downy clouds and the light snow falls again, sprinkling a blessing on me and my dog as we depart the woods and head into the day.