Bark With Enthusiasm

CircusDogThis is my first snowy winter in many decades. I grew up in Colorado so coming back to the snow is like coming home. My recent move to the shores of Lake Michigan has heightened my awareness of the rhythms of the seasons. I’m like a traveler in a foreign county; everything is new for me. The locals move through the snow and cold as if it is commonplace – and for them it is. For me, it is extraordinary, shocking, beautiful, mysterious, and magical. I love it. I forgot how the snow invokes deep quiet. I forgot the sharp sting of the air on my face, the chilly slap into the present moment. I’m present a lot on the shores of Lake Michigan!

Tripper, our dog (a name derived from “road trip,” also know as Tennessee Tripper, also known as Tripper-dog-dog-dog, Sled Dog, or my current favorite: Circus Dog) has never experienced winter. He’s only been on the planet for six months so snow is an adventure to be licked. Ice is a curiosity to him that involves barking – as if ice was a creature with ill intention. I love taking him out at night. Together we stand still in the crystal air and listen to the trees groaning and popping in the cold. He’s particularly taken by the whoosh of wind through the treetops. To Tripper, the wind is a being that whispers in the night and he is as yet undecided if the whisperer is friend or foe. I stand with him in his indecision. I, too, am undecided whether this whisperer is friend or foe.

Sometimes I think that Tripper and I are in the same stage of development. I have never been here before. I do not know the cycles or customs. I am in awe most of the time and the remaining moments are ripe with utter confusion. Either way, awe or confusion, I am grateful for seeing through new eyes, for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, for appreciating the cold slap of the air, the sharp sting in my lungs, and for a furry companion that reminds me that all of life is a reason to jump and bark with unbounded enthusiasm.

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