Snow blankets the Washington DC area. It is one of those picture-perfect mornings when the world forces a stop to the usual.

“Look at me!” she shouts delightfully in white cottony flakes. As if we could ignore her extravagant display. As if winter would pass without her crown jewel stealing an act or two. 

But, sun or snow, the dogs gotta go. My warm and curmudgeonly self had put off their walk as long as possible. (Parenting requires so much damn responsibility.) So, I found some wool socks and dug out my dusty snow boots for the season’s virginal use. 

“Here we go,” I said aloud, uncertain as to whom I was convincing … the dogs or myself?

Upon opening the back door, the black lab does an Olympic-sized dive into the 6-inch layer of snow that covered the porch. She then hesitates, as if ignoring the wise ole’ saying “look before you leap.” We always have wondered if she is developmentally-challenged.

The pug, on the other hand, has more brains than beauty. She refused to budge. “I’m not going out there,” she said with her locked-down legs. Bad for her that she’s light enough to pick up. Good for me that I get to pretend control.

Off we went. Making tracks with our feet. Contaminating Mother Nature’s perfectly groomed canvas. 

As the dogs tried to figure out how to do their business without a hint of grass in sight, the white surrounds drew my attention to my insides. I noticed a shift in mood. My inner child wanted my attention. 

“What fun!” she murmured, thinking of the few yet memorable snows of my youth. The two-inch southern ones that closed school and drove panicked shoppers into battle over that last loaf of bread, carton of milk and roll of toilet paper. As if their literal life might end without the equivalent of prison essentials.

As I commanded the dogs, “Poop … poop … poop,” my reverie continued and before long, my inner life of feelings joined our winter walk. I no longer cared if or when the dogs went potty. 

Love came for my younger brother who ran over a four-foot pine tree on his wooden sled while my other older brother and I laughed… 

Joy came for my dad who was foolish enough to drag a sled of us kids behind his red Volkswagen Beatle… 

Satisfaction came as I recalled the recipe for snow cream, knowing that we enjoyed the unsanitary concoction and, devilishly, somehow lived to tell… 

Sadness came as I thought of my own young children who would screech delight at a snow day only to find that last year’s winter gear no longer fit… 

As the dogs pulled me back to the warm house, I snapped back to the present. Yet, I was aware of a change in heart. I went out cold, numb, distracted and resentful but I was headed back in grateful and full. I was now connected. Both to nature’s white world outside and to my colorful world inside. I knew it was going to be a good day.