Today was one of the first days we really played outside since it became Serious Winter. We bundled up for a romp in the park instead of the obligatory 7 minutes death march around the cul-de-sac. It was chilly but not cold. We were happy and not sour. The day broke us out of our cabin fever funk and the sun tasted like warm bread on our skin. It was exactly what we all needed. I made contact with the guy who walks the black lab with an enlarged heart. I always hope to see him still walking his dog but feel an instantaneous ache for them whenever I do. The dog's breathing is more labored and intense than even a few weeks ago and the man who walks him has so much slack in the leash he doesn't even need a leash. It's more than obvious they only have a short time left together. Not sure why, but the entire scene takes my breath away.
Then there's my vibrant old lady dog who finds her inner Marley each time she's allowed to unleash herself from home. Her nose is a quivering animal on the end of her face that makes her snort out an exhale every ten minutes or so. She must inhale more delicious scents than she can handle because the aftermath is a continuous dance of buck and jerk like a puppy half her age.
Then there's the children who swing, climb, hang, and clink around the swings and slides until someone ends up with a mouthful of faded cedar chips. The little one is tenacious though and not even cedar chips will keep her down. She is an echo of, "I fine, Mommy!" when I hover too close by. How quickly they leave our clutches and gain entry to the rest of the universe with gusto. Well, the playground anyway. The rest of the universe can just hold its horses for her. Not ready to let that one venture off too far just yet.
We have lots more wintry days of sun to enjoy before that happens. Lots more days of going back home just to snuggle down and wonder when our snow will fall.