During yesterday evening's hike, the moon arced over a glowing orange stand of aspens in our meadow. To me, the moon shining in the sky felt like a unifying force for all of us. No matter where on Earth we stand, we all gaze at the same moon.
This morning, the thermometer read 26°F (-3°C) as I donned my cycling garb. I dug out my insulated pogies, mittens, chemical hand warmers, neck gaiter, ear band, and winter shoes. Then, K and I plunged into the shockingly frigid and windy world. The rush of cold air on my skin reminded me of leaping into a deep lake.
At first, I felt grumpy about the cold and harshness of winter. But, as the bracing wind whipped across my face, I remembered how I love truly experiencing nature's elements - even in the winter. I far prefer to dive into winter than to sit in my artificially warm home. Once I'm immersed in winter for a little while, I love it.
K and I wove our way through a labyrinth of small aspen trees. This grove is rooted in a protected alcove so bright leaves still decorated their bone white branches.
And, I pedaled up to the roof of our local trail system through a yellow-walled tunnel. My nerves tingled with sheer giddiness over the beauty and the winter-like air.
From the very start of our ride, K had an extra spark that I hadn't even known had been missing since her pancreatitis. She quivered with energy, urging me to ride faster. Today marked the first day since her illness that I labored to keep up with her. I loved watching her graceful form glide through the yellow-carpeted forest. In the more exposed aspen groves, the chinook wind had ripped many leaves from their moorings overnight, leaving a soft yellow carpet with that distinctive scent of musty leaves in autumn. K whooshed across the carpet.We stopped in a pine forest, and I found my girl gazing at me. Sun rays filtered through the pine trees giving her fur a rosy glow and highlighting her eyelashes. But, most of all, her earnest eyes touched my soul.
We hurried home, after a relatively short ride, so that I could go have my wisdom teeth ripped from their moorings. The procedure itself was easier than I expected. But, the aftermath is tougher than I expected. Pain, swelling - you know the drill. The biggest problem is that despite the pain, my stomach is growling with hunger from mountain biking in the cold this morning. I think that I earned a milk shake!
On my way home from the dentist, I spotted a small yellow Lab with fox red highlights who looked just like our recently deceased S. The heart-warming sight brought a lump to my throat. When I arrived home, I found a favorite photo of him and K snuggled up together, like peas in a pod. We were so lucky that S graced all of us, human and canine, with his spirit. He transformed us in myriad ways and, by doing so, his spirit lives on.