Winters Walk .. for dibbledabble's Challenge
The quiet of the cold late afternoon is broken only by the scrunch, and crunch of ice topped snow. With the thick soles of my boots stomping through the crust to get a sure footing of solid ground my steps pound through cracking ice to the soft snow beneath. Ahead of me, a chorus of sounds erupt as the crisp breaking ice echo’s with the snuffling of the puppy as he plays in a winters playground of a frozen puddles and snow. His nose burrows through the snow, constantly sniffing at the white wondrous stuff. Meandering furrows grow as his nose pushes up the snow and his feet crash through it, as his muzzle ploughs it's way along.
Occasionally he pauses to look back, his nose coated with a tiny puffs of snow resting above the black wet nose. The pink slobbery tongue lolls to the side as my laughter tumbles out at the antics of his first encounter with the cold white stuff. A chill runs through me as I watch the snow drip off his muzzle. My gloved fingers tug the knitted hat well down over my ears.
Hunching my shoulders up and trying to drop my neck lower into the woollen scarf which was wrapped around many times in an attempt to lessen the frigid air. The pup didn't seem to mind, with a flick of his nose and with a snap of his teeth the little bit of snow on his nose disappeared into a flashing tooth filled maw. The cold forgotten, I watch as the puppy gambols around, prancing gleefully through the deepening snow. He snaps playfully at the large snowflakes now falling thickly from the snow laden sky.
My whistle cuts through the early evening silence, in the distance the mournful song of a freight train hauntingly answers. The train tracks are blocked from view by the white curtain of falling flakes. The rattle, hiss, clank, of the wheels grinding over the metal rail sings out as I tell the puppy, “They won't run many more trains today if it keeps snowing like this.” Looking back at the pup bounds away, with nose down, and tail high. His pale coat flecked white with snow as I whistle louder this time.
“Come on lad” he turns to look, then bounds through the snow towards me as he finally notices I had changed direction. I brush the layer of snow from his head and ruffle his soft ears, “Let's head home before we turn into two a pair of yetis.” A shrill puppyish yap and he leads the way towards the hedge line between us and home.
Pushing through the hedge, minute flakes flutter around. My obtrusive movement on the snow crusted foliage, causing settled snow to bounce and dance in the air around me. I pause in wonderment at the giant spiders web, its intricate woven design clearly visible now, frozen in winters moment. The ice caught and ensnared on the tiny threads glistening and shining beaded gems of ice. Trembling slightly with my disturbance of the branch it held its frozen grasp upon. I push cautiously on forwards trying not to disrupt this beautiful icy masterpiece.
Solid ground underfoot makes it easier walking on the other side of the hedge, as we travel the road leading to home. Normally, I put the pup on his lead for fear of traffic along our street. This wintry evening no sound of motor engines broke the stilted quiet of the road. So I let the dog bounce along the snow covered street free of constraint.
Most of the houses on either side of the road remain quiet beneath their roof top canopy's of snow. Their gardens normally so different, looked clean and identical. The summertime nuances lay hidden beneath layered carpets of identical glistening white snow.
I slowed my walk. My hand slaps my thigh to bring pup to heel, which he did. His cold wet nose nudging my fingers gently. I pass by the gates of more houses, their lights from the windows reflecting on pristine white snow. All except this one I now draw near, this garden so dishevelled by a multitude of criss crossing foot prints. Big booted feet and smaller dog prints litter about on its carpet of snow.
Evidence of a fun filled gambol of the owner and her excited dog. I smile beneath the damp scarf as the pup and I make even more snowy footprints to our door. Fingers fumbling to work the key as the pup pushes against the door and bursts into the house first, a warm waft of heat and peculated coffee hits us. Lovely to have a winters walk, but even better to get back home. As the door closes I look out the window at the snow as it continues to fall. The fresh snow already starting to cover our prints with Jack Frosts special touch. As if he's trying to paint them away, so all of the gardens are coated in his pristine white.
By Tracey Owen & Brian Rueby
copyright February 2012