Winter is battering our mountains, forests, and spirits. When daylight broke, the air had warmed to positive 3°F, but the winds buffeted the trees with soul-breaking force. Even a century-old ponderosa pine's trunk, probably 5' in circumference, swayed at its base, rolling with the aggressive punches of wind that attacked its towering canopy. The wind warped every nook and cranny of the forest. It even took down our internet connection for the entire day.
The stream of air from the west scoured some patches clean of snow and piled the snow into huge drifts a few feet away. I decided to cross-country ski with the pups, skirting the wind-scoured patches and following the drifts. Cross-country skiing hurts my back but I need my 'fix' of time in the forest with my dogs each day.
The pups' nerves seemed on edge as they sprinted furiously through the drifts, perhaps trying to outrun the plumes of wind-driven snow.
Although most people would say that today's conditions were unpleasant or even horrible, I enjoyed the eerily surreal atmosphere. Sun rays almost parallel to the ground accentuated the stream of snow whisking across the trails and sometimes organizing into spindrifts hovering over meadows.
After a tough few days, I badly needed to smile - and my pups kept me grinning. When the going gets tough, my dogs have an uncanny ability to lift my spirits. Last night, I simply hugged K, burying my nose in her sweet pine-smelling fur, and life looked a little more hopeful to me. During this morning's ski, the canine enthusiasm for life started to melt my frozen shell of emotions.
Here, my wildly exuberant duo almost bowled me over at the end of a recall!
By sunset, the wind had calmed, and the mountains felt serene.
The setting sun painted them pink.
I'm no closer to figuring out my plan for my spine today than yesterday. But, I do know that the recent moratorium on anti-inflammatory drugs for me (due to stomach damage from at least two decades of taking them) is exacting a painful toll. Prior to this hiatus, I had no idea how much they were helping my spine pain. The doc is having me take a true 'pain-killing' drug during the day now, and it addles my brain. That feeling is no fun if I want to fully experience life. The pain and my hatred of the new medicines might push me toward surgery more quickly.
Thank you all so very much for your supportive words. They've bolstered my spirit more than you can imagine.