But, Uriah needed to go for a walk.
I opened the door and told him to have fun, and sat back on the couch.
Uriah barked at the side door until I gave up and went outside.
Today was very clear and bright and extremely cold. Whites and blues, of snow and sky, stayed separate from the beiges and dark browns of the tree bark. Lines of color cut in and out of the blinding white snow.
This morning, the weatherman had made a joke about today’s temperatures, being as close to a heat wave as we can get in January. The past few days we had wind chills between -20 to -50 degrees. Hitting the twenty’s would have been a heat wave. If it had really gotten that high, it didn’t. And all this white is wonderful for my headache… Grumble, grumble… !
Uriah ran circles around me as soon as I stepped outside. Then he stared at my pockets. I reached in and pulled out a biscuit. At the same time, I accidentally dropped my stick of gum on the ground. I bent down to grab it.
Did I tell you, Uriah loves spearmint…
He grabbed it first and raced away from me. I tired out quickly. Then stood back and watched him run circles around a Blue Spruce, with my gum still intact, sticking out of his mouth.
I swatted the air at him. He plopped down in the snow and peeled off the paper. Then he chewed the gum a few times before he swallowed it. He looked longingly at the gum wrapper and promptly ate it…
Yesterday I didn’t walk out back. Within one day the line of footprints that I had made by dragging my feet through the deep snow, were gone. Completely filled in by the wind.
With a heavy sigh, a cough, and a sneeze I slowly followed two sets of fresh prints. One was a coyote a lot bigger than Uriah; he had stepped in and out of the snow easily. When Uriah walks, he wades through the snow dragging his chest along. Not the easy gait of a coyote.
The second set of prints, were from an even bigger deer. I stepped in the snow next to his footprints and only sunk in half the distance.
I followed the coyote’s trail, which moved in the same direction I was going. Except for when he ran around and underneath the old apple trees. I cheated there and cut my own path and linked up with his prints. I saw where he had dug irregular holes, here and there in the snow. Until he laid down just before the back path, and left a complete body print in the snow.
I saw a line of rabbit tracks that stretched out from the Bog Willows. Then move with even hops, towards the path. A little farther away, the snow was scattered, where the coyote and the rabbit both headed off into the trees. I looked up and saw Uriah’s hind end disappearing into the same section of trees.
I headed up the path going east. Just as I reached the section that broke off, with one side heading southeast, the other northeast. I stopped! My mind said, enough walking for today, tea time!
I whistled for Uriah. He surprised me by running out of the trees. He circled around me and headed back into the trees. He even jumped over branches with the agility of a puppy.
I told myself to enjoy the day like Uriah!
I looked upward into the taller trees. That was when I saw a slight movement, about twenty-five feet up, way-out on the edge of a heavy branch.
I blinked a few times until I focused on a dark brown Pheasant. He blended in completely with the branch and tree. I moved a few steps to the west and I could make out his long tail, it pointed west, his head to the east. As I walked away the entire Pheasant blended in with the lines of the tree. I saw no difference in the coloring of either bird or tree! I stared hard at him; I couldn’t find his slick purplish- blue head, only dark browns.
I could see he was starting to fidget.
I didn’t want to make him anymore nervous than I already had. I walked a few feet along the path, then turned back and said out loud, “You really think I could climb up there?”
Just then Uriah Howled!
I assumed he found the deer and would soon tire himself out. I trudged back to the house. Uriah beat me back. He got his biscuit and I was able to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot tea and a box of Kleenex…