It’s early morning and I reluctantly get out of bed. It’s hard to leave the warmth on these cold winter mornings. But I do it because I know what I will be feeling soon rivals the warmth of the bed. It will fill my senses, boost my spirits and, besides that, make my dog very, very happy. So I throw on some warm clothes, pull my hair back, quickly brush my teeth, then head downstairs. By this time my dog knows what’s going down and that it’s going to be good.
I grab a hat and mittens from the closet, my jacket from its hook and my keys from theirs as Koda dances beside me. I put on my boots, throw the ski poles and the snowshoes into the back of the Subaru. Tell Koda to jump in. And we’re off.
I am so lucky to have Mount Wachusett in my backyard. It’s a 10 minute drive to the trail head. We park, get out, say hello to a friend who’s just finishing up her walk with her dogs, and head out on the trail. This morning I decide I’d like to get a picture of the windmills and so we head to a field which offers a view. Along the way, though, I set my ski poles in the ground and get a picture of Koda with the sun rising in the background. She patiently obliges but she’d much rather we keep moving. And so tomorrow, I tell her, we will have more time. We will get up early to beat the weekend crowds and walk for a couple of hours. Non-stop. Just me, God, and my dog in the woods. It’s my happy place and I can’t wait for tomorrow morning. Neither can Koda.