A Winter Walk

As I stepped from the cabin, the gnarled fingers of winter touched my face and goosebumps covered my body. A moment later, a blast of wind swooshed through my hair. Ahab, my pit pull/golden lab, followed me down the porch steps and up a winding trail, the wind coming in spurts. Wearing jeans, boots, and layered shirts, topped with a fur-lined heavy flannel shirt, I passed under the crooked arms of bare trees and around evergreens, fat and tall, Ahab walking nearby, my footsteps crushing fallen leaves, berries, and nuts, my boots snapping small twigs.

A gray day in the North Georgia mountains.

After about thirty minutes, I came to an abrupt stop at the sight of several deer in the distance. My dog stopped with me. Spotting us, the deer ran off in the opposite direction, and Ahab and I resumed our walk.

I arrived at a level clearing near a creek and took a package of nuts from my shirt pocket. Beneath a white oak tree, I sat to snack and take in the beauty of everything around me. Ahab followed a scent low to the ground, and it led him a good distance from where I sat. From the east, I heard someone whistling a tune, the sound drawing nearer to me. Soon, a man came into view. He raised his free hand in greeting and nodded his head. In his other hand, he used a hiking stick roughly carved from a small tree or a small limb. He kept whistling as he moved on. Ahab came moseying back. Hearing or smelling the stranger, Ahab paused. He made a sharp turn and went to the man, following him a piece, then soon returned to me without so much as a bark.

Thin rags of dingy clouds fell down the sides of mountains, the sun nowhere to be found. Sitting inside a cold and gray day, I thought it might snow, yet the birds didn’t seem to mind. They were busy.

Watching a cedar waxwing, I bent into the season, my muscles relaxing, the stress that knocked around in my head disappearing. I watched a cardinal until it flew off, not long after I saw it.

More birds passed through, but I couldn’t identify them all.

Back at the cabin, I wrapped myself in a quilt on the couch and watched amber flames in the fireplace until I fell asleep.

There is a season for all things.

 

Brenda Sutton Rose is the author of Dogwood Blues, a work of southern fiction. To purchase, click here.

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