The bitter cold seemed not to bother Andi. He jigged and pranced in the driveway, his tail whipping the frigid air. I tugged on my gloves and joined him on the pavement, securing his leash for our morning stroll. Well, not exactly a stroll; more like a brisk jog/run. Damn, it was cold!
We crossed Rte. 19, passed on through a slight dirt road, and started our walk up Tower Hill Road. It was early, about 7:30am. There was not a hint of wind. Bare trees scraped the dun colored sky, and a mere smudge of sun appeared now and then through streaking ragged gray clouds.
No one was up and about. Distant dogs yowled as we trudged upward, Andi sniffing everything in sight, pausing here and there to listen to the howling of unseen hounds.
We ascended the hill, and with the higher elevation, a brisk brumal wind whipped at my layers, as Andi peered up at me, pleading for a return to warm confines.
But I would have none of it. It was good to be out in such frigorific climes, braced against such biting winter chills, and I knew the walk would do us both good.
To assuage Andi’s beseeching stares, I started to run, something I knew he loved to do. We raced, up and up, the cold stinging and tearing my eyes, Andi frolicking through pockets of snow and piles of dead withered leaves, up, up we went, and soon I paused, slightly out of breath.
We crossed the road to a lifeless lea, flora long dead, mere fragments of stalks jutting from crusted tufts. I let Andi run loose and gave a half-hearted chase, but soon I elected to stand rigid in the middle of the meadow, while Andi skipped and whirled in wide wild arcs across the fallow field.
I stood there and embraced the icy grip, at one with nature; the brutal cold; the thin, skeletal branches of a windbreak swaying gently in a winter breeze; the bruised passages of sky above, the wan sun feebly filtering through scudding scrapes of clouds tinged in pinks and grays and purples.
I was one with everything. Even Andi stood motionless, his gaze far off into the darkled edge of woods, where unseen creatures scampered.
A lone crow appeared, a black rent in the sky, cawing as it glided by.
“Caw! Caw! Caw!” it screeched, but to me, it sounded like, “Paul! Paul! Paul!”, as though it was my Dad, just passing by, saying a good morning hello.
‘Hi Pops!’ I whispered back, as the crow disappeared over a copse of birch.
We stood there, just Andi and I, immersed in the wonder and beauty all around us. Some folk would describe the scene before us as drab and dreary and depressing. But I thrive in it, allowing my body, mind, and spirit to embrace such a peaceful vista.
At length, sensing Andi’s desire to return, I leashed him and we wended our way down, down Tower Hill, across the thin expanse of dirt, and back into our yard.
Once ensconced inside, Andi bounded on the couch, gnawed his bone for a moment, and promptly went to sleep. I poured a cup of coffee and stood by the kitchen bay window. A light snow was falling, and the last of the sun disappeared. Cradling my coffee, feeling nice and toasty, my face still thawing, I relished our little walk.
A crow suddenly appeared, and perched on the wooden fence beyond the driveway. It bobbed its head, this way and that, and then fixed its onyx stare upon me. We gazed at each other, for a moment or two, and it turned and flitted off, cawing as it sliced through the swirling snowflakes.
‘Bye, Dad. Hope you are well.’
I turned from the window, sat down to my laptop, and began my post.
©Paul Grignon, 2014 – All Rights Reserved.
The painting above, by Claude Monet, is called ‘The Magpie’. But for all intents and purposes of this post, it is a crow.