Yesterday evening, an eerie light shined on some local peaks. The gray sky portended this morning's surprise.
I looked out my window with disbelief this morning. It's one thing to read a theoretical weather forecast for snow and quite another to see it blitzing out of the sky on the first day of fall. Yesterday, I lounged on the deck shown in the photo!I have a quiver of bikes, one for each type of condition. Alas, I hadn't put studded tires on my Stumpjumper (aka, my shallow snow and ice bike) because I didn't truly believe the forecast. So, I rode the trails on regular tires this morning. Fortunately, the snow was wet and easily compacted so I stayed upright!I have to admit that I felt gloomy as I headed out for my snowy ride. Later in the season, I rise to the weather, seeing it as a challenge to stay warm and ride safely regardless of the conditions. Last winter, I rode outdoors almost every day. One day it was -5 degrees F, and on many others, I followed packed snowshoe trails on my Fatback snow bike for miles. Based on last year, I know that my attitude will improve.
Today, my pups turned into a pair of romping maniacs and pulled me back from the brink of moving to the southern hemisphere for half the year! Labradors become goofball crazies when it snows!
I let them play and play and play. Since my motivation wasn't burning at a high level, I didn't mind stopping and reveling in their happiness.And, as I do daily, I practiced recalls. When their exuberance is sky high, I need to keep reminding K and R that doing recalls is even more fun than carrying sticks. Otherwise, they might keep playing with the stick and ignore me sometime when it's critical that they stop playing and return to me. As part of this training, I almost always let them return to their game as soon as possible - so that a recall doesn't become equivalent to the end of the game for them.
Later in the ride, I stopped again to let them play with a stick (it's dangerous to keep rolling when they might poke a long stick into my spokes, launching me over the handlebars). I noticed the rare beauty of the snow-cloaked yellow aspen leaves.
I also noticed the glowing aspens in the distance during a brief respite from the snow.
I gazed at K and found her gazing at me. I gave thanks that she was playing with abandon and enjoying the snow despite her recent travails. I think that we still have hurdles in front of us, as pancreatitis doesn't often leave a dog unchanged, but we're in this journey together.
The first day that I met K, almost six years ago, I looked softly in her eyes and gave her the same promise that I've made to all of our dogs. I say it out loud, just in case they can understand. I tell them from my heart that we will always, no matter what, love them and care for them - no exceptions, stipulations, or other excuses. I truly mean it.