March 9, 2010

Winter’s Grip

We appear to be experiencing a cold snap. Not horrible. Not like the mountains for snow and freezing temperatures everyone on the east coast experienced, but still, for these here parts, it’s chilly. Worst thing about it — it kind of feels like we got fooled. I mean, everything is in bloom and SHAZAM! the temperatures drop below freezing. Not good for the daffodils. Not good for the euphorbia that’s busting out all over the place. Not good for dogs with only a bit of hair.

At least today, we didn’t get any snow flurries…at least not yet…they are predicted for tonight. Sure wish it would stick. I hate the teasing.

I suppose that’s what I find so fascinating about the seasons — each one holds me differently. Summer holds me in soft warmth as if I’m buried in a warm down comforter curled up right next to a glowing fireplace. My muscles relax. My tongue measures the heat by the length it can extend. And my body longs to spread out on the cool kitchen floor — my belly flat, my legs outstretched.

The fall is precisely what the word implies — a slight lean into something less stressful, a slow tumble into quieter days and longer nights. Fall is orange against blue, yellow scattered on the green grass, and this feeling that I must get done whatever I am doing for soon they’ll be no more time left to do it.

Spring, on the other hand, puts a bounce in my step. These past few weeks, as the temperatures climbed in the upper 50s and lower 60s, I felt more alive, more willing to pursue my adventures with a bit more vim, a bit more vigor. Every flower surprises me. Every new scent on the ground requires investigation. There are squirrels popping up everywhere and I must stay forever vigilant lest I miss one crossing my path. Spring makes me feel hopeful.

Which is why this winter has confused me. We never really had winter. We had an endless October in some ways, a November stuck in neutral. There was no snow. There was only one trip to the mountains. Some days, when I’d exercised hard, I even thought about a swim in the lake. I never think about the swim in the lake during the winter months, but not only did I think I about it, I actually did it a couple of times this winter. Yes, it was cold, but it wasn’t anything like what I’d expect for a winter time swim.

So that feeling of hopefulness, that feeling that the grip of cold, of dark days is about to pass and spring about to spread like wild flowers in an empty field has eluded me. Sure, there are squirrels who mock me, but there was never an absence of squirrels, which is what winter is all about. Sure, there are flowers, but the grass never seemed to go dormant, the bulbs never really fell asleep, and so I wasn’t surprised when the forsythia¬† showed up in February and the daffodils bloomed in early March.

I guess that’s what I miss — the surprise of spring. Winter never really gripped us tightly so I never longed for the brilliance of tulips, the sun’s alarm earlier each day, the smell of warmth on the wind. All those things were kind of all there since the hand of winter was more gentle this year.

Well, until now. I was fooled. So the snow yesterday, the chill this morning — they were like winter grasping at my tender tail one last time and I don’t like it when anyone — winter or human — grabs my tail! I guess that’s why I’m kind of grumpy this week. Not terribly so, but between the seasons thrown into a bit of a reverse, Gretchen’s inability to take me to agility class because of her gimpy leg, and that lack of spring’s anticipation have made me a little less patient, a little more disobedient, a little less willing to do as I’m told 100% of the time.

Much to Gretchen’s chagrin. She tried to get some of my grumpiness out (as you can see from the photos) with a play session with Gemma and Ollie…

A rest at home while Rosie sat by the daffodils and then shook her head to produce a splatter of flattering drool…

Further rest while Saber practiced his patience despite the blade of grass on his nose…

…and his first meeting with Chloe who was rather leery of the big dog wanting to sniff her all over…

And then a walk with Alice who was bored with the posing by the euphorbia, though happy to see me (yes, she’s happy)…

But I’m still feeling a bit miffed — it’s neither a real winter nor the hopefulness of spring. It’s a conundrum, that’s what it is and I’m not very patient with conundrums.

Still, when I look back over the day, I have no regrets. It was a full day — time to play with friends and take a nap — life really doesn’t get much better than that no matter what the season.

Until tomorrow,


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