One of my favorite things to do, regardless of season, is hike with my husband and our dog at a 400-acre park whose previous life was that of a local resident's farmstead. When he passed on, he left this oasis of woods and prairie, lake and pond, with miles and miles of trail to explore to the city with the stipulation that it only ever be available for public use. My family can't thank him enough for his generosity. The gift of Ritter Farm is never lost on me.
Last weekend, when the frigid temperatures broke for a couple of days, we were back to our old tricks -- waking early to get out to the park to start our day. Trooper couldn't have been happier, waggling her tail as she worked the trail before us, nose to the ground, stopping to scratch in the snow to uncover secret scents. There are few things as joyful to me as witnessing her grand adventures in freedom, exploring, exploring, exploring. If only we could take in our surroundings as thoroughly and with as much abandon...
We couldn't have been happier either. Feeling the early February sun beginning to regain strength is wrought with hope. Good ol' Punxsutawney Phil informed us we still have six weeks of winter to contend with (at least!), but each moment we can soak in the wonder of being out in the cold and feeling contendedly warm, we know it won't be long now until the trees begin to bud and the red-wingers return. All in its own time.
Spring might not be right around the corner, but she's close. Close enough to taste on the wind; close enough to feel on the skin. May we all find our own way to her, and with hope in our hearts, welcome her whenever she feels her time is ripe to arrive.//