Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter

    Eyes the color of winter sky look up questioningly. A rubbed ear brings her chin to rest against my knee. Eventually, she settles to lay on the rug by the desk, curled up in slumber. Soon, her legs twitch in a dream.
Chara in her fifteenth winter.
    What a long life she has had, hunting fifteen seasons, and most of those in some of the finest ruffed grouse country found anywhere. The dreams must be shaped by memories from those fifteen autumns. What stories she could tell.
    Daily walks in the woods keep our weary legs in shape, but the winter, with its deepening snow, makes the going impossible for dogs. Plowed logging roads are the only place for them to run. There she can still sniff the air along the sides, searching for grouse. Her loping trot rocks her along, but the occasional slippery spot causes the hind legs to fumble. Up and on again, her spirit is unfazed.

   In a little over two months the woodcock will return. Let’s hope we both see our way through Mother Nature’s next cycle. Do we dare dream of one more fall together?

Chara with Colby backing.