Every winter Saturday morning begins much the same.
A wet nose and plaintive whine wake me.
The cold floor and frigid air provide an unwelcome brace,
After the warmth of the quilt and covers.
As the toothpaste is squeezed, Abby pogos.
No brushing in front of the mirror;
Pad across the living room rug,
Step into the murky sun room that belies its name,
Coat, gloves, tennis balls and chucker -
All while using the toothbrush like a popsicle
Saturday morning is not like any other morning.
The luxury of time is available with no desk calling.
Abby prances about, reveling in the crispness,
Expectantly staring; mouth open; muscles tense.
The first ball is launched and she is a blur.
Soon the yard is a pinball machine of tennis balls.
Abby a blonde flash, chasing each one maniacally.
Chomp! A hard throw miraculously caught in midair;
Paws extended to slow momentum slide,
The frozen ground provides no traction.
I am bent; literally and figuratively.
The workweek has bowed my strength;
The shovel calls me to its weekly work.
Today becomes different though,
As small white pellets begin to bounce all around.
No wispy flakes; no large wet dollops of snow.
These are tight little balls of whiteness;
Beanbag fillers for Boreas and his frozen furniture.
The sky is not a blanket; it doesn't look like snow.
Yet the miniature spheres continue to bounce off of me.
Grey, woolen clouds vie with sheets and puffs.
Westward there is no pregnant sky portending.
Periwinkle peeks in between, mocking.
Treetops, clouds and jasper sky have created
A Neapolitan painting in the east.
Tiny rivers of accumulation paint the roof creases.
A constantly changing sky gives no hint of its plans.
The sunrise paints a bordello splash of color.
Shovel still crunches atop the frozen ground;
Abby continues to hunt rolling and skipping balls.
Finally, her pace slows; tongue panting; chest heaving.
Instead, my nose is running, unused to the teens.
Man and dog agree it's time to go in.
Walking toward the house
Past the wheelbarrow popsicle.
The chilly house that ushered us into the day
Greets us like an open oven door.
Blankets of warm air envelop us kindly.
Miniature snowballs and wheelbarrow popsicles
Are erased by the coffee cup's steam.