March 21st, 2017
The calendar indicates that spring has arrived. Labrador West still has an abundant supply of the white stuff on the ground and more is predicted to fall. But, I know that the melting will begin in a few short weeks. The trails and roads will become mucky and wet making daily walks challenging. Each hike into the woods is precious at this stage. Mornings are cold even with the sun beaming down through the branches. Temperatures are typically in the minus thirties now. Exhaling leaves a crystalline fog in front of our faces. Bailey doesn’t care. She has spring in her step. Thundering around in the snow only to stop suddenly and plunge her head into the ice crystals to quench her thirst. In the mornings, I am bundled up in my parka, snow pants and full face balaclava mask. By the afternoon, I have shed the heavier clothing for lighter fare as temperatures soar to -10 degrees Celsius. It is only natural that Bailey prefers the coolness of the mornings. Her long, pink tongue dangles out more at midday when her thick, black fur absorbs the sun’s heat. I have to be more careful about staying on the trail. One false step and down I plunge into the snowy depths. Even the packed trail has hidden traps for inattentive hikers who find themselves sinking down on a soft portion. Bailey seems to manage as she bulldozes her way back to firmer terrain. She is in her element. I am thankful that winter lasts for almost 7 months here. With the arrival of spring, Bailey’s adversary, the pesky black fly, will soon return along with the hotter temperatures. By then, the two of us will be counting down until winter arrives.