What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel bittersweet about the end of an extreme, history making Chicago winter?
As I walk with Phoebe through Brook’s Park, I can see the snow is melting. I should be 100% happy. Within the past two days of over 40 degree temps, the feet have dropped to inches and beyond. There is green, black and brown color seeping back into my world. The weather is improving.
The Robins have returned, they populate the red berry trees and the remnants of stained, crimson snow beneath. To be sure, their puffed up, tawny brown chests are a welcome Spring sight.
Just over there, the tall hills of plowed snow are shrinking. They are no longer towering over my head. Earlier in the winter, as the snow piles grew, Phoebe was fond of climbing up to the top. There she would sit, looking out over the park like a sentry. Sometimes, I would summit and sit with her. In the cold, bright silence of many sub-zero mornings, we were the only ones out and we had the world to ourselves. Such peace.
Then, there are the fading footprints. The tiny prints of squirrels and rabbits, the larger boot prints of dog walkers and dogs, clues for me, revealing what Phoebe anxiously sniffed and tracked in the snow. Only during this season, could I see what’s usually invisible. The snow highlighting the concealed secrets of trapped scents.
My memories of this particular winter in the park are melting away.
My first winter in retirement – what a record breaking, memorable and unforgettable experience. I am grateful for the gift of time – I was able to get out “in the day” to experience the best it had to offer.
I was also very lucky – to have seen it through the eyes of a snow loving, curiosity seeking, playful young Saint Bernard!