A cold strong wind blows hard across the open prairies of Western Minnesota. It whistles around silos, roars over houses and howls down river valleys. Letting nothing stand in it’s way, it strips leaves off trees, blows small birds around like paper and whips lake water into a froth. Finally, it hugs the ground over the rolling hills of Eastern Minnesota until it’s up over the trees, across the field, into my yard and to me. It turns my skin blue and makes me shiver right down into my shoes. Sophie looks first at her leash and then at me as if to say, “What’s wrong pal? Let’s go outside like we always do.” I, with other ideas like my arm chair and a good book know by the look in those sorrowful eyes that I’m going to lose this contest. And so we go.
With anything that I don’t want to do but should, it’s best to just dive right in. Once I’m dressed and we’re out there moving, it’s not so bad. The colder it gets the longer it takes me to get dressed to go. Today I have a hooded sweatshirt, heavy sweatpants, insulated coveralls, a stocking cap and my “Don’t run me over” blaze orange vest. And gloves. As it gets colder I will add boots, heavier gloves, a coat and my face warmer that my wife so lovingly crocheted. This thing is the greatest. It reminds me of one of those tube tops girls used to wear but it’s loose and has elastic around one end. You pull it over your head and it covers your nose, lower face and neck. As the young kids say, “It’s Awesome.”
As we go out, a flock of geese fly overhead and complain about the weather. At least that’s what I’d be complaining about. The wind makes the dry corn in the field sound like the applause from a stadium full of Friday night football fans. Because every leaf on the ground is flying every where, Sophie is very alert watching for something to chase. If she actually tries to chase something I run the risk of her pulling my arm out of it’s socket. So I keep her on a short leash to help with that problem. I’m rather fond of my arms being where they are you see. She is hoping for a wayward cat or a rabbit and could care less if she has to drag an arm behind her as she runs. It wouldn’t slow her down a bit in fact.
The days are getting shorter all the time. Less daylight that is. We are on about the 45th parallel which means by the end of December we will have less than 8 hours of daylight per day. But I have to remember that as soon as we hit the winter solstice, the daylight begins to increase, however slowly. It’s a glass half full mentality. A lot of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder when it’s dark so much so it’s good to keep a good attitude going. As Sophie settles in for a little nap on the couch I know there are plenty of cold weather walks ahead. That’s alright. It gives me more to write about.