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I’ve made peace with winter. It’s really not so bad.

I can dress myself in layers of handknits and fleece and down. I have boots to keep my feet warm and dry. I have a good coat.

I can walk through the park and see sunlight on the snow and I can notice the colors and shapes of nature. Even in winter. Even when the sun is hidden behind clouds and everything is gray for days at a stretch. There is always something to see.

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I can keep my head down and follow the footprints ahead of me or I can walk through the middle of the field and take slow, measured steps through the untouched snow. I can find the deepest drifts. I can look behind me and see my path and, alongside it, the footprints of my dog.

I can watch him run at full speed across the field, chasing nothing but the joy of his own speed. Or I can watch him chase a rabbit back and forth in zigzags with snow flying until the critter escapes and the dog turns to me with a look of exhilaration and disbelief. Did you see? I almost got it! But he doesn’t get it and for that I am grateful.

We can walk through the empty park, minding our own business. I wander with my thoughts and sometimes my camera. He roams in search of scents and sights. From across the park, he looks around to find me, then continues on. I love those looks, those check-ins, those reminders that we’re here together.

These winter months bring a freedom and a quiet that I enjoy. Before long it will be summer — warm, glorious, loud, active, full. Until then, I’ll enjoy these soulful, silent days.

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