Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The most beautiful day

Up behind our woods, where our forest peters out into the next forest that once was sheared to the ground, where the trees stand crooked and spindly, and beyond an army of rail-thin saplings marches away to the distant mountain, a shadow on the horizon, we walk on the trail we have carved in the snow.

It is silent here in the forest, the only sounds our feet squeaking over the packed snow of our winding path, and the rush of my breath captured inside the hood of my coat. The sun sits low in the sky somewhere beyond the trees, colouring it a creamy yellow that melts into the palest lavender.

I stop at the rising rush of wind, whooshing towards us from the mountain, the sudden sound from silence, and watch as it tumbles about the ragged edge of the woods, reaching in to knock cascades of snow from branches to shower magically through the air, capturing the fading light just so. It floats to the ground and sparkles on to my face like a million tiny bubbles exploding from a glass of champagne. 

Murdoch and Molly dig about in the deep snow for sticks, their faces disappearing behind white masks as I watch the wind weave through the treetops and the snow fill the air like fairy dust. And for a moment everything is just perfect.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A new face

We went to bed that night with flakes streaming past the porch light, flickering yellow and white against the blackness beyond. In the night, burrowed beneath blankets piled thick on the bed, we listen to the house creak and shift from buffeting winds. The next morning flakes fall fat and drift onto branches laden in white.

Winter is upon us.

Outside we cut a path through the ankle-deep snow, dusting it aside with each step in the muffled forest. December has crept in. This glowing world in white seems out of place somehow as though we should still be carving pumpkins and raking leaves.

But the dogs bound over snow-covered mounds, bury their noses beneath the white, delight in the falls of snow slipped from branches in great blankets to cover their backs. They tell me everything is as it should be.

Trees become snow sculptures and the forest is made of light. Ahead, two black shapes weave through the white, Murdoch slinking along the familiar trail, ducking under branches, leaping over downed trees and just behind him, a new black shape, tall ears pointed skyward, powerful legs making short work of the drifting snow, feet like lion’s paws stepping purposefully over this new path, a new path that will soon become a familiar path.

It is the first real snow of the season and I think of Bear and I think of Jack and I think of how much they are missed and how much they would love this. And I think about that week when life took an abrupt turn. That week when Jack died and our other neighbour’s house burned down and then Molly showed up.

Molly Malone, the King Shepherd with the black German Shepherd face and the Malamute fur who came from a loving family and is mistrusting of cameras. Molly Malone, who loves the snow, is completely unsure of cats and would be outdoors playing stick every waking minute of the day if she could. Molly Malone who is amazingly graceful on her feet for such a big dog, who is two years younger than Murdoch but acts like she is at least two years older, who has gigantic ears and piercing eyes and who has become a little bright spot in our neighbourhood.

Snow continues to sift down from the bright sky as we wind our way along the trail through the woods. We kick up swirls with our feet; send snow spraying out like white surf crashing against us on its way to shore. Two black shapes cut the trail ahead, one hops eagerly after the other, ears pointing to the sky, and I follow not too far behind.