I find my way up a road laced with crusty snow and last year’s grasses still pressed sideways from the weight of winter’s burden. Silent it would be were it not for my loud-mouthed dog, barking, sweeping both sides of the road before me, keeping me safe from wildlife. Funny, though, for I have never feared wildlife. People, perhaps, but never a wild beast.
How many miles separate me from another human being, here and now, except my husband still asleep in the cabin he built with logs he felled and dragged? There is something about home. I walk in the cold wide open crisp sweet untouched air of early morning before the sun has even met my trail and my thoughts wind back to home.
Home. It is odd how happy we feel here. We have earned this it, this sense of home. Built it, fought for it, left it, and returned.
Paw prints of the pup cross before me again, brown on white, easy to trace the joy of his freedom and energy, now dropping down to an open creek running clear and quiet before the inevitable mid day warmth lets loose the fury of melting snow. Snow and ice and rushing waters. Spring in the high country. The elements blending together. A blur of passing clouds and melting snow and the shrill whistle of a pair of blue birds lighting the top of a nearby spruce tree. Subtle harmony of earth and sky.
I stop atop the highest hill before the ribbon of road drops down to the river. The pup joins me, sits tall and watches. He has learned to accept and perhaps even enjoy these still moments. Our heads face west into a charcoal grey horizon portending another storm. And below the metallic sky juts up bright white peaks, royal crowns above tree line probably nine miles away. I remember trudging through the snow on the far side and dropping down that face one April years ago with Bob and Forrest on an adventure I said I’d do alone if they wouldn’t join me. Which of course they did.
Memories swell with the brown waters and are washed clean and clear as melting snow. I am left with a barren hillside as the sun now shines upon it, sending me home to wake my husband and stoke the fire in the old iron cook stove on which I’ll fry up breakfast.