As much as Jackson disliked the Chicago summer and temperatures over ninety he adores the Chicago winter. Winter took a long time coming to us but in the last ten days we have had two significant snow storms with enough snow for Jax to frolic like, well, like a puppy.
Jax’s favorite snow day activity is playing with the kids’ sleds. We have several plastic sleds in the backyard and the wind the day before the first snow scattered them throughout the yard. Jax dug them up like buried treasure and has found complete and utter joy in racing through the yard with a sled hanging from his mouth. Sometimes he trips over them, sometimes he tries to chew them, and sometimes he digs them back out of the snow after I bury them to prolong the fun.
His other favorite game is playing chase with Maggie. Running through the snow wears the dogs out as if they were running through sand, and as anyone with a lab puppy knows, a tired puppy is a good puppy. They race around the yard, lap after lap after lap, zigging and zagging, changing who chases who, play nipping at each other, and having the time of their lives.
This year I bought snow pants and cute new winter hats for the first time in years and I have had a fantastic time with Jax and Maggie out in the snow. I think I have spent more time in the snow this winter than in at least a decade, back to when Babe was a young dog and we would hike through the snowy trails of our favorite park.
Tonight I played with them as it was getting dark. I was bundled up in good snow gear with only a small part of my face exposed. It was fifteen degrees and snowing hard and it felt absolutely blissful to frolic in the snow with the dogs. It took me back to my childhood and teenage years in New Jersey where skiing was our passion in life and I used to relish the times we went skiing at night and it snowed. Falling snow is so quiet and peaceful when you are in the right clothes and the right mindset.
For years I have hated the snow, mostly because of commuting through it, and then because of the issues with senior dogs navigating the icy terrain and the frozen deck, falling down, slipping and sliding. But just like he has done with so many other things, Jackson is completely responsible for making me actually look forward to today’s storm to prolong the fun that we are having in our little winter wonderland.