It’s been a remarkably white December on Chicken Ridge. The big spruce trees marching up Mt. Maria retain snowy highlights. Snow shovels come out every day, building our sense of community as neighbors work together to open paths for people and cars. It’s the best time for neighbors to visit during the busy holiday season.
Aki, the snow lover, thrives here and on the more remote places where we cross country ski. With me, she hunts exciting smells and the odd chance to charge after a scolding squirrel. She changes when as on recent trips out the road, we ski with people with various skill levels. A good sized gap can open between the fastest and the slower skier. Aki becomes the herder she was born to be, dashing back and forth between the alpha and the omega; trying to encourage by example, the slowest to close the gap. After these outings, she spends the car ride home collapsed into the arms of one of the passengers.
Aki can’t consult a calendar so she doesn’t know that this is the last day of the year. She can sense emotions in her humans but I wonder if her skill is finely enough tuned to detect our communal optimism that next year will be better than 2013. The closing one brought joy and contentment to the house with the purple door on Chicken Ridge. Its occupants reasonably look forward to more of the same in 2014. We pray for the same for friends and family in the USA, France, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Canada. We have more desperate prayers for the rest of the world, inspired by the optimism of the season to ask for peace and an end to starvation, hatred, and bigotry.