Thursday’s snow was a Golden opportunity
January 20, 2013 2 Comments
It is an unfortunate truth that, in our region, snowstorms tend to peak late at night, when temperatures are most compatible. But our two Golden Retrievers, Chinook and Cheyenne, love snow as much as I do, and I was determined that the three of us would not squander the opportunity presented Thursday evening.
So I raced home after work and, like a kid on Christmas Eve, dove into bed at 6:30. My plan, as I informed Maureen, was to wake up at ten or eleven o’clock, dine, and walk “the kids” amid the dazzling spectacle. I awoke prematurely, at about 8:00, looked outside and grinned at the snowflakes dancing in the glow of floodlights on the back of the house. I promptly went back to sleep, anticipating the festivities to come.
I awoke with a start at 10:30, and noticed that Mrs. Davenport had joined me in slumber. The kids had, too. On my immediate left were Chinook and Cheyenne—the former at my feet, and the latter right beside me, her head on the pillow. I leapt out of bed, manufactured a pot of coffee, slipped on a pair of “house shoes,” and stepped out onto the porch.
I was greeted by a scene of ethereal beauty: swirling about the streetlights was a thick shower of quarter-sized snowflakes—some floated side to side; some hovered, as if unsure of their destination; and a few seemed to drift upward in defiance of gravity. The grass had disappeared, as had the pavement in the cul-de-sac. Deciduous trees leaned this way and that, groaning under the weight of wet snow. Evergreens seemed to have been peeled, banana-like, from the center outward, and sprawled impossibly close to the ground.
The visual alone was spellbinding, but it was enhanced by an auditory sensation—or lack thereof. Mother Nature had issued the command: “Silence!” I reveled in the celestial quiet, the only heresy committed by a trickle of water issuing from a gutter. (A couple of hours later, this, too, was frozen into obedience.) But enough of solitude and reverie.
Let the games begin! I always walk the puppies one at a time, Chinook (Nookie) first. He is six years old, and the hair on his face has begun to gray. It lends to him an air of wisdom and distinction, reminiscent of his human father. Another trait Nookie shares with his dad is this: romping in the snow shaves years off of his age. His favorite activity in the snow is statesman-like prancing, but he is not averse to rolling. Thursday night, in one of his more exuberant moments, he ran in circles at full speed until he and his master were dizzy and spent.
I got Chinook home, toweled him off on the front porch, dried his paws (lest we tarnish Maureen’s floors), brushed him, and retrieved Cheyenne (aka Shoo-Bop). She is only two years old, rambunctious, and extraordinarily affectionate. She weighs 60 pounds, but likes to sit on my lap—or Maureen’s, if I’m not available. Life, according to Cheyenne, is a never-ending festival, and her first encounter with a significant snowfall merely verified her opinion. Until Thursday, she had seen only a dusting or two.
By the time Shoo-Bop and I left the house, the snow had diminished to a flurry, but her enthusiasm was dampened not in the least: three or four steps into our journey, she began digging into and sniffing at the curious white substance. She reacted as a feline does upon encountering catnip: she rolled, ran in circles, and dug—and then repeated the sequence. Our “walk” around the neighborhood consisted of several such outbursts, and my laughter moved Cheyenne to ever-goofier antics.
As we neared home, I noticed breaks in the clouds, and here and there, the appearance of stars. The conclusion of a snowstorm always fills me with despair, but I reassured myself (and the kids) that this was only the first of many snows to come. We hope so.
Charles Davenport Jr.