A Fool in Love (with Nature)

More foolishness fills our days following the previous post about spring, or more precisely, the “fool’s spring” that tempts people living in the mountains into believing that winter is over. Fool’s spring is a tease.

But a delightful tease.

If the past few days are representative of “fool’s spring” in the mountains of Idaho, then count me…

  • rushing in (as only fools do)
  • fool happy
  • a damn fool
  • a motley fool
  • a fool for love (of nature), and
  • living in a fool’s paradise.

I guess my dogs are fools, too, since they’re out there with me every day, equally happy with this “foolish” season.

dogs, snow, trees, sun
Finn begins a roll as we run on snow, March 10, 2021.

As eager as I am for the arrival of true spring and the forest wildflowers it brings, at present I’m content to eke out every bit of enjoyment possible from winter and its snow, made glittery by the sunlight. The snow of fool’s spring is consolidated, packing under its own melting weight, making for mostly solid footing with the occasional post-holing surprise on our runs and excellent cross-country skiing at the nearby groomed area.

I know from my years living here that as soon as all of winter’s accumulated snow has melted off the ground, after our “third winter” has come and gone, it becomes mud season. Snow is clean, mud is…mud. It clings to my shoes, the boys’ paws and bellies, my car’s tires. Interiors of car, garage and house get dirty. Really dirty. Eventually the mud dries to dust and can be swept or vacuumed away. I don’t much care for mud season – I don’t care one bit for cleaning – but one must endure it to arrive at “actual spring” and its drier terrain and abundant wildflowers. Thankfully, mud season is brief.

muddy dogs
Life with dogs post-trail run during mud season (2020).

So, for now, the boys and I are fools. Fools for fool’s spring, almost maniacal in our pursuit of fun on the snow while it lasts.

dog with stick, snow, sunlight
Basking in the early morning sun during a stick play break, March 12, 2021.
dog, snow, trees
Taking in the view, March 12, 2021.

Even a leisurely walk in the valley is more fun in this fool’s spring when the snow berms consolidate enough to hold the boys’ weight. They prefer to walk and run on snow rather than pavement. Who can blame them? Smart dogs.

This morning, Finn, delightful fool that he is, showed his joy for fool’s spring by frequently rolling on the snow. I was sorely tempted to join him.

dogs on snow, fence, mountains
Rolling dog Finn.
dog on road, snow, mountains
Conall casting a long shadow.
dogs playing on snow, morning sun
Finn rolls and Conall runs – pure joy.
dogs, cattle chute, snow, barn, mountains
Exploring a snow-bound cattle chute.
dogs on road and snow in valley
Our valley.

Feature image: the boys wait patiently as I take photos at the high-elevation point of our trail run, March 12, 2021.

21 thoughts on “A Fool in Love (with Nature)”

  1. That photo of a dirty, wet Conall exhausted on the floor with Finn looking on was worth the price of admission as they say but the rest of the tale was equally good. Dogs def are the ultimate fools in a good way, un-selfconscious, happy, goofy and eager to please. Looking at the photos I can almost…not quite but very soon…see the tips of some green stuff starting to emerge.

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    1. Ha! Dirty dogs = tired dogs = happy dogs. I almost took a photo of some green bits of new field grass emerging through a sun-warmed hole in the snow alongside the road on this morning’s walk. The red-winged blackbirds were singing from the telephone wires, a sign that true spring really is just around the corner. Thus our obsession with enjoying what’s left of winter’s snow 🙂

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    1. Well, “hard” depends on one’s approach to cleaning them! 🙂 Finn is willing to let me hose off most of the mud. Conall? No way. And he’s too big and strong for me to wrestle; I know how to pick my battles. Plus, his fur is so thick that even if I could hose him off, he’d stay wet for hours. Not good. So I’ve learned that the best approach with him is to let the mud dry on his fur, then brush him outside where all the (now dry) dirt can fall off onto the ground. A fair amount of dirt finds its way inside, but that’s why I have concrete floors that are easy to sweep/vacuum. No carpeting in this dog house!

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      1. Good approach! Also, it kind of sounds therapeutic, hosing and brushing these babies. Not sure if this is really the case. But I feel this way every time I spray neem oil and wipe every single leaf of my gazillion plants.

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      2. Absolutely therapeutic! Even when Conall balks, he gets treats for cooperating, so it’s all good.

        I wish I could say I was as attentive to my plants as you are!

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  2. It’s hard to look at all that snow and think ‘Spring’. Real spring has hit Pennsylvania. We’ve just concluded the most gorgeous week imaginable. Highs of 55 – 75 degrees. Cloudless skies, and now daylight savings time. I am lifted to a higher level of joy right now.

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    1. Thanks, Brad. I was eager, after taking a few photos of Conall in that light to get home and see how they turned out. Happily, I ended up with some really good ones!

      Winter to spring is a tough transition, eh? I remember living in eastern Washington in my 20s. We’d get a fair amount of snow on the ground in winter, and then one day in early spring a Chinook wind would come through, with its warm temperatures, and by the next morning all the snow was gone, everything evaporated! No mud season. Pretty abrupt.

      At least here, even when the snow disappears at my house, through July all I have to do it go to higher elevations to find some for the dogs and I to play in!

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      1. No snow in July here in New England. I should clarify, though, that most of Vermont is still snow-covered at the moment. The southern section of the Connecticut River Valley is the warmest part of the state, because of its low elevation (89 feet above sea level where I live). I call it the banana belt of Vermont. The mountains to the west and north are colder, which is nice in the summer, because New England summers tend to be hot and humid.

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    1. Thanks, Shelley.

      I’ve learned to live with dirt; it comes with the dog territory. The best lifestyle adjustment was in my current home where I have concrete floors and no carpeting; so much easier to clean, nothing to permanently damage. And over time I learned to turn a blind eye to all the dust/dirt (and dog hair) until I have the energy to vacuum or sweep. Of course, it helps that I don’t share my living space with another, more particular, human!

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