Sometimes, small changes in routine or the weather alert us to new beauty just around the corner or across the road. In my case, right across the road! Our aging and arthritic dogs are no longer content to sit and watch me skate on a winters morning, and I imagine that it is not very good for their sore old hips to sit outside on a cold day. So, before a skate, we go for a walk, and have discovered a treasure trove across the road. For years, we have called this area the “Mooney Trees” after the Mooney family who planted the shelterbelt and once had a farmstead here, but the area includes a small wetland as well as woods. For the dogs, there are so many wonderful smells, tracks to follow, holes to dig. A veritable feast for the nose!! This small area is alive with grouse, partridge, owl, mice, foxes, deer, and coyotes – to name only a few.
Last week, Southern Saskatchewan was bathed in hoar frost for several days running. As I explored the Mooney trees with the dogs, I was amazed at each turn, each new vista and view. The Smart phone photos do not do my morning’s walk justice, but will give you some idea of the beauty that is right here (but that I almost missed!)
I was reminded of my discovery of artist Emily Carr in my teen years. Reading a book about Emily Carr, I came across a few pages describing “the ache”. As I remember it, Emily Carr would often be silenced and stilled by beauty, her hand going to her heart. Sometimes tears would come. She was often overcome. Something she called “the ache” filled her, and oftentimes after experiencing the ache, she would paint or write. As a teenager, I read about Emily Carr’s “ache” with recognition and also with great relief knowing that somebody else felt this way at times when experiencing beauty.
The dogs’ excitement is expressed in wagging tails, alert ears, noses to the ground….moments where they forget about arthritis as they bound energetically through the snow. As for me, I feel achingly alive and alert, rapt in wonder.