Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Preview of Spring

This weekend, here in Cincinnati, we had a preview of spring. As much as I love snow and the permitted indoorness of winter, I can't say I minded the preview at all.

It was in the 50's for the first time since, I think, November. By some climate's standards, that's not warm at all but for us Midwestern folk, after weeks of below zero temperatures, it felt balmy, warm and just plain wonderful.

I took advantage of the weather and made sure that the puppies and I went for as many long walks as possible. We took the one mile route around our neighbourhood twice on Saturday- once the regular way and the other in reverse.

Then, today, we went over to the park for the first time since the beginning of
November. We clearly weren't the only ones with the same idea because it was very busy with runners, walkers and dogs.

We had a lovely walk. The paved part of our walk was nice. The pups had the best time walking on the grass which, until this weekend, has mostly been hidden by snow.

It was actually interesting to see that the lakes and ponds in the park were still frozen over. Given the warmth of the day, it felt surreal to see a winterscape in an other wise springlike day. The boathouse was abandoned and the boats outside it were stuck solid in a bed of ice. I suppose I always thought that once winter fell upon the land, the days of going to the park was over. Being an indoor kind of Monkeypants, it never occurs to me that there are things to do outside in the frigid temperatures. Yet everywhere there were signs that activities had continued in the park during the icy times. The lakes had signs on them warning people to stay off the ice. There were places for 'designated ice activities.'. I suppose I should have known but it was still somewhat of a surprise.

It seems that people also continue to take their dogs to the park in the winter. I walked the pups outside when it was doable. I did think about taking them over to the park but it seemed a little daft in the snow and ice.

Yet, clearly, it wasn't daft to some people. The evidence of their winter activities was everywhere. Clearly, people don't feel the need to pick up after their dog when the weather isn't great.

Well, actually, in my experience at the park, it doesn't really matter about the weather. There are responsible dog owners who do clean up their dog's poop and then there are the ones who just don't care.

It's annoying. As disgusting as it is, dogs like to smell other dogs' poop. When there are mounds and mounds of it along a trail, it's a little irritating to constantly have to watch where Rory and Sookie are heading. I had to yank them back quite a few times. I also had to watch where I was stepping because it was all on the paved trail as well as on the grass.

I don't get it. I take several grocery bags every time I walk the pups. I use one as a 'glove' and one as a recepticle for the poop. Then, when it's done, I drop the bag in the nearest trashbin and use my handy dandy hand-sanitizer to clean my hands. It takes less than five minutes. The park even provides bags for dog owners to clean up after their animals. So why is it some people think it's ok to let their dog make a mess in a public area and then leave it?

Ok. Rant over. Once we were past the main part of the trail, we got into the more wooded area. I had expected it to be muddy but I hadn't considered that it'd still be snowy and icy. I should have realized because much of the trail was in the shade but in the giddiness of finally having a nice warm day, my brain hadn't considered that it was actually still winter.

Still, the puppies and I navigated the ice and mud quite well. The puppies, having four legs, managed better than me. I had to make them slow down a few times so I didn't slide on the ice. Fortunately, I never fell which was quite an accomplishment. The puppies had a field day exploring the mud and grass and smelling the smells of the winter.

By the time we were done, the pups looked like they'd been off-road trucking. They had a coat of mud all over them. They didn't seem to mind. By the time we made it back to the car, they were wet, muddy and covered with debris from the trail. Yet their tails were wagging and their eyes were bright.

We went for another walk this evening, just to appreciate the fact that the day wasn't yet over. Even though I'm certain winter will be back to reclaim her season a few more times, I think spring is definitely starting to let us know it's her time soon. I saw the first shoot of a daffodil as we walked this evening and the first teeny buds of spring on the trees.

No matter how much winter fights it, I have a feeling she will lose and before we know it, spring will have her hold. I don't know about you but I'm ready for it.

Although I wouldn't argue if we had one more snowfall first.

Hey, I can't help it. I love snow.

Happy Monday!

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