Red Girls, Snow, and The Golden K

Snow has been falling off and on at The Golden K for a week now.   I’m amazed at how alive dogs become in the snow.   Impervious to the cold – seemingly energized by it – with the speed of a gazelle and endurance of a marathoner they run, roll, jump and chase only stopping occasionally to catch their breath.  And I believe, as they stop and look around, that they realize their world is different for the moment and they appreciates the beautiful playground that Mother Nature has created for them.   Then all at once they are off again…

Kloe and Koda – The red girls as I call them – have had a lot fun with snow play this past week.  Although The Golden K is located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills we’re just about at the snow line at 3100 feet elevation and don’t receive a lot of snow each year.   As inconvenient as it has been this past week in some ways it has also been special.  The red girls have taken advantage of the velvety layer of cold white powder sitting on top of what is usually a hard and muddy landscape this time of year.

For the past week the red girls have alternated between this:

 

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Kloe and Koda stopping to catch their breath and appreciate their velvety playground

 And this…

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Koda” “Dad you’re embarrassing me.   I’m not cold and I already shook off the snow.”                 Kloe: “It makes him feel better.  If it was mud we’d both be up in the bath right now.”

 

Our Traditional First Snow Walk

Earlier in the week we took our traditional first snow walk with the girls to the top of The Golden K.  It was a little melancholy for me because as we headed out of the immediate area of the house and headed up the hill Kali was struggling.   Kali, now almost ten with bad hips struggled in the deep snow making it too difficult for her to follow along.  She tried but as she labored to make gains up the hill to follow me I could see in her eyes that it was too much for her.   As much as I wanted her with us and as much as I know she wanted to be by my side I took her back to the house while Holly and the red girls waited at the trail head.

 

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Holly”  “If only the red girls were attached to a sled they could power me up the hill… Mush!”

Kali last year on our traditional snow walk to the top of The Golden K

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Kali:  “My hips are frozen – this feels great!”

And so it goes during winter at The Golden K.   Rain follows this snow storm and then more snow, and then more rain.  Hopefully we’ll have a few days to dry out in between all of that.  I’m convinced the earth is spinning faster with the way time flies by.  Before the girls know it they’ll be running on the hard clay ground in sunshine, sitting patiently by the BBQ for a little “sumpin’-sumpin'” and looking for shade to cool down in.  But for now we take what Mother Nature has to give and enjoy the beauty of the Golden K all dressed in white.

The red girls running, rolling, jumping and chasing. How great is it to be them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Day At The Golden K

Finally, a snow day with the girls.

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And so it goes with my Golden Kali…

Me:  “C’mon Kali, do something”.

Kali:  “I am.  I’m sleeping”

Me: “No I mean, romp, play, give me some fodder for a blog post”.

Kali:  “OK, post about this nap I’m taking and wake me when there is a biscuit in your hand with my name on it”.

Me:  [sigh…]

And so it goes with my Golden Kali.  Since the day Kali arrived in America almost three years ago she has been low key and very content to just hang and be with me and observe the world around her.

So this past weekend, after a few days of steady snow, when we took Kali and Kloe for a walk up to the back section of the Golden K I was smiling to see Kali exhibit a little bit of puppy in her.  I’m still very much a kid at heart and it was great to see my Golden Kali, who is just about my contemporary in dog years, act a little bit like a pup as we romped through the snow.

As we got off the path that circles the inner section of the property around the house and began “off roading” to the deeper snow Kali began acting like,  well acting like a dog.  She  romped, she pranced, and she threw herself down on the snow and seemed to make a snow angel, although in reality it was probably something dead she smelled and wanted to roll around on it as she loves to do…

Kali is about eight and I find myself doing the “numbers game” and thinking ahead to the day when Kali will be gone.  I know there are still – God willing – four or five years until that inevitable day arrives.  For Kali, like with my human kids, I would not ask her be something she is not or doesn’t want to be.  She doesn’t have to fetch, she doesn’t have to romp, and if she prefers to nap and just observe this is ok with me because she usually chooses to do these things at my feet, by my side, as a truly loving and devoted companion.

But when she does choose to romp and play, as she did this past weekend in the snow, I will cherish it and be happy for her because I see that she too is very happy to be alive with her pack at the Golden K.

Kali’s Romp In The Snow

The Golden K Dressed In White

I imagine that snow and ice is especially unwelcome when one has to dig out, drive to work, and cover every inch of their body including their face as a regular part of their daily routine.  I can only imagine because I have never lived in such a place.  Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and having lived their all my life until earlier this year, I didn’t experience any extreme weather elements.  The temperature was rarely below freezing, there was no real humidity to speak of, and never snow.

I realize that much of this country and others in the Northern Hemisphere get plenty to a lot of snow and that it’s not always a welcome element.   I’ve seen pictures of Syracuse, NY in the winter.  I’ve heard about Duluth MN in January.  Mother Nature is probably not any kinder in Grand Rapids MI and Quebec City in Canada during the winter months.  I would probably perish after a winter week in any of these cities.

So when the Golden K gets an inch or two of snow and it all melts by mid-afternoon can I really say, with a  straight face, to anyone who lives or has lived where snowfall is 60 or 70 inches per year, that it “snowed”?

We’ve had three days of snow this year which I understand is about average for our area up to this point in the season.  I feel very blessed to be living at the Golden K in the middle of a forest covered by pines, oaks, and cedar trees.  With each change of season so far (Summer, Fall, and now Winter) I appreciate a different type of beauty on display that I once only dreamed of waking up to each day.  This morning after several days of rain and one day of snow the sky is blue, the air is crisp, and leaves and pine needles are shimmering.

The snow day we had this past Thursday was magical to wake up to.  I didn’t have to dig out.  I didn’t have to bundle up. And I didn’t have to drive anywhere because I work mostly from home.  I know I am blessed because instead of digging out I was free to take a walk (OK I did bundle up a bit…) about the Golden K and explore the beauty with a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

Mother Nature was very kind to us on this morning!

 

Just a dusting

Over the years we’ve vacationed in the snow many times.  I have fond memories of spending long winter weekends in Lake Tahoe with friends who had small children like our’s were at the time.  Three families comprised of six adults and nine children.  The first year of what became an annual event for ten years the youngest child  was an infant and the oldest, one of my sons, was nine.  No snow parks needed for this band of suburban families. There was a fantastic area right outside the house to build our sled run.  There was always plenty of snow and fun to go around.

There were plenty of other times and events in the snow.  One scary and memorable event was a drive to Lake Tahoe with our daughter in what turned out to be a white out.  On top of almost zero visibility from the snow storm and darkness of night our car’s windsheild wipers were badly worn which negated any help from the defroster.  I couldn’t see any road; only white. Thankfully we didn’t fall off the edge of a cliff and we made it over the pass and into the Lake Tahoe Basin area safely and had a wonderful time snowmobiling and sight seeing.

At 3,100 feet elevation The Golden K is just the lower edge of the snow line for normal years in the Sierras.  But with the drought and evolving climate change who knows what normal is anymore. Still, we hoped we would get some dustings from time to time and yesterday was one of those times.  I had driven down to the Bay Area in the morning and was heading back home around 3:00 pm when Holly text me to say it was snowing.  As I got up the hill closer to the GK the rain turned to flurries and I felt my lips spontaneously turn to a smile.  For a moment I felt like a little kid experiencing something special for the first time. Maybe like my daughter felt when she fist saw snow during that first annual trip with our friends.  But I’ve been in the snow plenty of times.  Heck I drove through that white out with nothing but snow all around us. So why do a few snow flurries make me feel happy?   But then at that moment I realized that experiencing something familiar can still feel new when the context changes.

This new context is the Golden K.

By the time I arrived home the flurries had turned to rain and there wasn’t much evidence of snow on the ground or trees because it melted as soon as it landed.  So much to my delight when I woke up this morning to see new evidence of a light snowfall from over night.  I felt my lips smile again as I looked through the windows to see patches of snow on the ground and traces of snow on tree branches.   I quickly fed the dogs and took a brief walk around the house’s immediate surroundings to enjoy the sights.

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I realize that it’s easy for me to selfishly want it to snow for the pure beauty and experience of it in this new context.  And I realize that at the end of the storm (s0 to speak) I don’t have to deal with it.  I’m sure anyone reading this who lives or has lived where real snowfall is a real part of life throughout the winter and has to shovel it, drive in it, work in it, and clean up after it will chuckle and say, “Be careful what you wish for Mike – a winter living in the snow is not all sled runs and hot cocoa Hot Totties by the fire”.

It was only a dusting and that’s fine.  Because when your lips spontaneously turn up into a smile, you feel like a three year old seeing something for the first time, and you are for that moment in time at total peace, you just might be at The Golden K experiencing a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

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