Just in from letting dogs out and it feels like winter has arrived.

Up to now we have had mostly rain and mild temps, causing gardeners like myself to be concerned for all growing things. We have learned over time that for everything there is a season. And in this area it is time for things to rest under a blanket of snow.

Today there is a dusting of snow on the deck, more predicted to come. When you breathe you can feel the sharpness of the frigid air. Krystal our 12 year old dog knew it was cold and fresh before she went out. Shortly after waking she danced around in circles waking Gizmo, our 14 year old dog. She’d run up to him and nudge him, turn in a few circles and then nudge him again. Eventually he tired of her nudging and eased himself out of his bed.

I let them out, keeping an eye on Gizzy. Whereas the snow and cold is fun for Krystal, it isn’t so much for him. In order to find his way around the yard he needs to be able to smell his way or listen to where she is. Yesterday in the rain he got turned around and heading back to the sunroom door ran into the metal wood rack so hard that it made a gonging noise. I ran over and scooped him up and carried him back indoors. Today he did a little better, trusting my voice to guide him.

While watching them and breathing in the fresh air, I thought about my ‘Word’ for this year… Courage… I’m not sure if I picked it or if it picked me. When I think of courage I think of .. faith, obedience, honesty, perseverance, trust, fortitude, justice, and so much more. It means not shrinking away from or avoiding things that I think I know will turn out badly. And to open a door and step through it when I’m called to.

Back inside with the dogs, I sat on the floor where Gizzy quickly found me and crawled into my lap, safe and secure, content. As I sat drinking my coffee, petting the little old dog, I got to thinking that Gizzy has it right. What I need is ‘ordinary courage’. I don’t need to tackle big huge problems or face an army on my own. I need to listen … and be … and do … the little things asked of me. To allow myself to respond to that inner impulse, turn towards God.

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