The Snow Bunnies: A Wintry Tale
by Lynda McKinney Lambert
In the early morning, dusky lavender light seems to flow into the kitchen when I open the door. Our two dogs are accustomed to going outside before daylight for the early morning walk along the wooded ridge overlooking the creek below. Mitchell and Rocco are anxious to explore the outdoors regardless of the season. Rocco is a furry black Pom-Sheltie mix. When people see Rocco for the first time they will usually say, “Oh, I love the little fluffy dog!” I like to call him my little “Fuzzy Bunny.” Rocco bounced out the door this morning into the brisk winter day. His long silky tail waved in the breeze and curled up over his back. He never needed a leash because he understood his boundaries and he would stay with me for our morning walk. This is a rural area and we walked quietly in the woods together each morning.
On the other hand, our dog Mitchell is a tall, lean, long legged terrier. I often like to tell people she is a TERROR when they ask, “What kind of dog is she?”. Mitchell has to wear her red leather harness and stay on the leash because she just never understood that we have boundaries.
On those rare occasions when she slipped out the door and ran off, she dashed around the neighborhood like a Banshee flying through the night sky on Halloween Eve. She ran a race with the wind, back and forth, across the two roads near our house. She made wide circles around every house on the road. When Mitchell happened to get loose, I saw only fleeting flashes – quick explosions of a white dog darting about in ever widening circles. She moved so fast her brown spots were invisible. Once that happened, all I could do was wait her out. She never came when called. In fact, she never seemed to recognize her name. She just kept running about. It was obvious, she had no clue that she was in danger. This crazy dog dashed through the woods, nose to the ground, sniffing down the deer trails and rolling in nasty smelling stuff along those paths. On several occasions, she came back home dripping in those stinky messes left on the floor of the woods by wild animals.
The three of us were a common sight as we walked through the woods and into the meadow at the top of the ridge overlooking the creek.
I must have looked especially strange as we burst forth from the warm house into the cold morning today. I was wearing tall rubber Wellies to keep my feet dry from the snow drifts. I had ordered the Wellies from the L. L. Bean catalogue last winter for days just like this one. It was very cold and the snow was deep. They were just perfect for my winter walks with my dogs.
But today, in just a few moments, it was too late! Frisky and impulsive, Mitchell pulled me into a deep snow drift that was higher than my boot tops. My long lavender flannel nightgown caught the snow as we were launched into the drift. Snow surrounded me. With shocking wetness against the bare skin above my boot tops. My dark purple plush bathrobe flapped in the wintry coldness that blew up from the creek bed. It felt warm as a winter coat and the soft gray wool scarf I had wrapped around my neck warmed my face.
I tried holding up my snow laden nightgown, but the snow was stuck to it and it was becoming heavy. Snow clung all around the inside hem of my flannel nightgown. I plunged on down the hillside into the meadow on the ridge overlooking the frozen creek.
Mitchell and Rocco were excited and sniffing the air. I was busy looking around for fresh deer tracks in the snow. Mitchell held a pose that told me she was looking for something in the woods. She stood perfectly still, one paw lifted up and curled in a frozen position. Her slender face and dark brown beady eyes pointed towards the frozen, ice covered trees. This stance always made me a little nervous because I did not want to run into one of the deer. On occasion we did, and it would snort and stamp its feet at us and I would quickly turn around and move out of its domain. Rocco would run after the deer, barking and chasing it back deeper into the woods while I would scream at him to come back “now.” Shortly, is little fluffy black and tan long-haired body would come bouncing back, when he was ready to do it.
On wintry mornings like this, with the snow covering my world, it was almost silent. The crisp air was pierced by the loud calls of a lone crow sailing high above the tops of the trees. A couple of cars drove by on the main road as we stomped through the wet snow. Finally, we three turned around and headed back up the hill to the house. It always looked magical on a morning like this because it is a black house and seems to hover at the top of the silvery snow covered hill. I often felt like I was walking in a dream and it gave me a warm feeling.
In a short second, I felt my right boot slip beneath the snow, and I was thrown down onto my face with my hands extended outward above my head. My legs apart, and the toes of my Wellies dug deep into the drift thrusting my face down into the deep snow.
It happened so fast I could never have prevented this fall. It was painless. I began to laugh out loud. I hoped my husband, Bob, was not watching out the window and I hoped he did not see our morning plunge into the newly fallen snow.
Mitchell, quickly turned around to see what was happening when she felt the leash pull her to a stop. Fortunately, I held tight, and was still laughing as I staggered back up onto my feet. Bob greeted us at the kitchen door and we laughed together because he watched out the window and saw me rolling about deep in the morning snow. I was now icy cold and wet, completely covered with snow. I giggled as I came through the kitchen door.
“Here comes the snow bunnies,” I said.
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