Dark slunk into the woods,
but morning took a while to find us ... the dogs and me.
We walk back into the trees,
looking and listening and sniffing at the cold.
The snow creaks and squeaks beneath my boots,
the dogs make almost no sound (except in talking to each other, and to me) as they dash back and forth in front of me,
each eager to find 'it' first (whatever it is).
Our breaths puff outwards like cartoon thought-bubbles,
none of us apparently thinking much ....
Down and into the forest, where the frozen sphagnum and tamaracks tell stories about a summertime swamp.
We pick our way,
over and around and through branches that grab at us and shower us with powdery snow.
Puck and Miles tighten their orbits around me as we get further from the house, and home, and warm.
A shivery wind brings with it a whiff of musk, and they growl and quiver.
Black dots of deer poop (some still warmly steaming) litter the white ground like ellipses ...
Having reached a thickening of windfalls and young trees and the thinning of the wild path we followed, our group turns around by tacit agreement.
Puck holds up a frozen paw, Miles pretends to hear something back by the house, I wonder idly if the boy will wake and worry at the silent and empty house (whether or not he finds my note).
The unspoken truth among us three is the quiet, cold, blue morning, and the frosted trees and noisy snow, is alien ...
or we are.
We're creatures of light and warmth and coffee and couches,
softened by summer, dulled by the green times.
Winter is the sharpening season,
the hard cold will peel and scrape and rub away the soft moss that's grown up on us three.
But for now, for this morning,
we're ready to curl up, warm up, and forget the death that winter threatens.