I shuffle through the well-worn grass path, stomping for warmth. I huddle, cocooning deeper into my Carhartt jacket. I turn to admire the twin lines of green snaking through silvery frost, exhaling, then laughing–breath fogging my glasses.
It’s not as cold as it will be–but it’s cold enough.
The lake has a thin web of ice across one side, the lacey edges dipping and bobbing from unseen forces.
The horses know.
They snort and lower their heads, sniffing the ground. Later they’ll lay down and absorb the sunshine, smooshing the pathetic remains of a once-lush pasture beneath their bodies.
The ponies who own rain sheets wear them a lot lately. The mud and rain and more mud that the ponies splash through makes it difficult for them to stay clean, and each lesson I teach is only an hour long. The kids don’t have enough time to deal with the amount of muck that Twist, for example, is capable of rolling in, so he wears a blanket to keep him clean.
Besides, I can reason that it’s a little chilly. That’s a good enough excuse. The weather is shifting to Melody’s favorite season–winter. Soon she’ll gallop and skid across the ice, delighting in every snowflake.
I don’t like winter. Not at all.
My favorite part of winter is the lack of insects. I clean up after spiders all year, swiping down their beautiful webs. These webs catch every bit of dust until they’re ready for a haunted house. While I’m removing the hard work of a thousand arachnids, I attempt to keep warm. I bundle up until the only visible part of me is my nose–sometimes. When I leave my nose uncovered, the cobwebs make me sneeze.
I admire all that lays before me. The glittering blades of grass beneath my feet crunch, and I do a silly little tap-dance simply because I can. The leaves will soon be a memory and shortened days will play tricks with my brain. Morning chores and night chores will be in the dark. Flashes of summertime tank-tops and thin breeches and days playing in the outdoor arena make me smile, and I think forward to next year. Of how there will be moments I’ll long for the cold of winter to kill off every buzzing insect. Of how I’ll imagine lazy snow days reading in front of a fire.
I sigh, giggling again as the early “fog” of winter steals my breath. Life is good, no matter the season.
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