There's a lot to be said for getting up in the wee hours of the morning and wandering your neighborhood in the dark.
Visually, it's a world of black and white. The full moon acting like a giant flashlight. I look up and see steam rising from rooftop ventilation and tree branches look like giant eyelashes as I look up at the sky.
The dogs are all about sniffing, clustered at their periodic "mailboxes" collecting and leaving messages as we hike our mile. I wonder how many dogs have dropped a note.
Later, after I've tucked the pup's back in the house, I head back out for my real exercise. As I'm stomping along, I hear a high pitched yip and howl off in the distance.
Coyotes. Clear as a bell, but not too close. A few miles off for sure.
After a minute, things get quiet again and the only thing I hear is the sound of my breathing.
While winter is not my favorite time of the year, I can appreciate it's severity. It's a cleansing sort of cold. Stinging and abrasive but necessary. The Brillo pad of the seasons, if you will.
Scrubbing everything fresh and clean.
When I step into the house and feel the soft, humid warmth of the air on my numb cheeks, I tell myself I can't wait until Spring.
Yes, I can.
And I'll appreciate it that much more for the cleansing winter.