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One thing I know — it won’t always be winter

It won’t always be winter.

I thought about this during a snowy, icy walk to the barn early, early the other morning after we’d been hammered with some of that stinky February weather we can’t seem to shake.

It wasn’t even 5 a.m. yet, and I was pumping my legs in and out of crunchy snow, making my way from a warm people house to a cold horsey home.

I was juggling a couple buckets of warm water, trying not to spill them.

Such activity falls under the category of morning aerobics, horse ownership style, I suppose.

What light I had to guide my way made the snow sparkle, distracting me just a bit from the cold, the kind of chill that makes your nose hairs stand at attention and ups your appreciation level of a gas furnace with the setting on 73, crankin’ out the heat, just waiting to defrost your fingers and toes and nose.

But it really was pretty out there in that pre-dawn frosty winter setting. All that winter glistening glamour. The pine trees dressed in white.

Cold, yes, but beautiful.

It was very quiet, too, save for an occasional car passing by.

I opened the barn door, and there they were, Tucker and Thunder, their heads bobbing over the stalls, alert and figuring the person on the other side was bringing breakfast.

The expectant looks on their face struck me, made me think of children waiting to be picked up by their parents after school or daycare, happy to see them, excited at familiar face recognition.

Tucker and Thunder greeted me, and I them. We had our morning chatter. (We all speak horse, luckily. No translators needed.)

It was a special day, considering Thunder, who’s been a part of my life almost six years now, was having a birthday.

Seventeen!

I rubbed his neck, sang “Happy Birthday” and assured him he was still just a puppy, so to speak, in the aging process. And I teased him — don’t be asking to get a car. He wanted that learner’s permit last year, you know, but I couldn’t afford the insurance hike.

He settled instead for his favorites — grain and hay.

You have to really like horses to not mind taking care of them in all kinds of weather. That test I passed long ago as I was confident I would.

I told Thunder even though it’s cold, he’s lucky. He’s got a nice big stall and a blanket and a full belly to boot.

Soon enough there will be a grassy field to run around in, but that means fly season, too, I reminded him.

There’s always a trade-off.

Yep, there’s snow out there now to be shoveled and cold to combat with by wearing clothing layers like Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story.”

Later you can wear less clothes but then there’s mowing and lots of yard work.

So let winter be winter.

Later in the day I talked to my sister who was preparing to head to Florida for the rest of the winter. I don’t know why, but she was excited about 80 degrees, warmth, the opportunity to put on her running shoes and log some miles.

I told her the only running I was doing involved errands. It’ll warm up when it’s supposed to. For the time being, I won’t lament the cold and the snow.

After all, it won’t always be winter.

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