For those who love winter - especially the beauty of fresh snow and the silence it creates - there is nothing like walking through open fields and undisturbed woodlands on snow shoes. Nothing. It is a moment of mystery and reverence. A gentle reminder that all will be well and exceedingly well. There will still be fierce storms, violence and danger. But new life always emerges from our deaths for that is the rhythm of creation.
About the only thing that makes our winter wonderland better than taking in the awe with quiet respect is schlepping through the snow with a Jack Frost dog name Lucie. She aches to bounce and leap through drifts up to her neck. Then she buries her big head to her shoulders, roots around for some mysterious creature only to pop up later like a frozen prairie dog comedian. But the blessing comes when she decides it is time race full steam through the virgin white. Like a greyhound in training, she becomes her truest self: elegant, free and at peace with all creation. Most of the time, Lucie is anxious. She is afraid of her own shadow and lives with more fear than I can comprehend. After nearly eight years of partnership, she is not going to change. Yes, when she cuddles every morning - and at night while watching TV - she can be tender and playful. But most of her day is given to fretting.
But not while prancing through snow drifts or racing with the wind; then she is a vision of beauty.
Lucie has changed my life. In addition to living as our furry companion, she has become one of my prayer partners. Every day, whether I want it or not, she helps me see those parts of me that I hide and try to deny. She calls me out when I fake it - and not always in ways that evoke my love. Her anxiety can be exasperating - and when it becomes a moving, breathing, running 68 pound mass of confusion, Lucie can be frightening. Not in a violent or vicious way. More like a tornado of fearful feelings hellbent on escape. It is hear-breaking and taxing because she is one big bundle of muscle and fur.
Maybe that's another reason why my heart overflows when she charges through the snow. This is Lucie at rest - free to be fully her precious self - liberated for a moment from everything that weighs her down. This version of "Old Blue" by Cisco Huston has been floating around in the back of my head now for years. Better than anyone else I've heard, he captures the joy and anguish of loving a wounded dog like Lucie. She's sacked out on the sofa now exhausted. It is a good day in the Berkshires.
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