There’s something peaceful about going for a walk outdoors. Minnesota winters don’t often afford me the opportunity — I’m not a fan of ice and, well, sinking into snow drifts isn’t that appealing either.
A string of warmer days and a mild and hazy afternoon, however, had me walking outdoors on Saturday. Sure, there was still some snow — and some ice — but I pulled on my mom’s winter boots and trudged out the door of the farm house with my dog, Molly, wagging her tail in excitement.
Molly loves to go for walks. She’ll be 13 this spring (I acquired her as a puppy five months after starting at the Daily Globe) and though she’s slowing down a bit, she still loves to explore.
She always keeps a good distance ahead of me, and Saturday was no exception. I like to think she clears the critters out before they have a chance to scare me. She often has her nose to the ground or her ears perked up, on the prowl for Peter Cottontail.
Sometimes I’ll pull a trick on her and hide behind a tree, just to see how long it takes her to find me. It never takes her long, and then she darts off again, just to keep that distance between us. Once — not on this particular walk, but a few years back — I actually slipped on some mud and greeted the ground with my face. Molly came running, sniffing around my head and exhaling near my ear until I started to giggle. She knew I was OK then.
On Saturday, as she busily searched for varmints, I was on the prowl for something else — deer sheds. I didn’t find any, but still I enjoyed a lovely walk through matted down grasses and rows upon rows of trees.
Thanks to the prairie winds, it looks like we will have some clean-up work come spring. More branches have broken and trees have toppled since the ice storm of a few years back that mangled the old grove and did considerable damage to the new grove (we call it the new grove, even though Dad reminded me it’s been there for 40 years). I still remember the day staff from the SCS office came out to plant those trees. I guess it goes to show I’m getting old, but can I really be getting old when we still call it the new grove?
I’m not so old that I can’t step over tree trunks or duck under low-hanging branches, but these darn bifocals I wear make it a challenge. I’m looking up, I’m looking down and frankly, sometimes it makes me dizzy!
Then, out of nowhere, jumped Peter Cottontail and I realized I’m not too old to scream and jump either. Molly, on the other hand, is too old. She feigned interest — looked off in the distance at the bouncing white tail — and returned to her work several yards in front of me.
By the time we returned to the farm house, I’d snapped several photos of our adventure and realized that along the way I’d had a battle with the cockleburs. Perhaps this weekend I’ll get around to pulling them out of my coat.