Despite my arrival into this world in between the January blizzards of ’78, I am not naturally a cold weather person. I like warmth, sunshine, or even the pleasantly cool, crisp air of autumn. Middle-of-the-road temps are good. Arctic blasts—not so much. So, naturally I fell in love with a Siberian Husky almost 11 years ago, and Nala has been family since the day I brought her home. “You get the dog that you need”, Cesar Millan has often said, and I believe that to be true on many levels. Nala has helped me through the past decade of cold winters, motivating me to take those daily walks—in the cold, in the snow, no matter what. Not only have we taken these walks together, but I have learned to appreciate, and even enjoy our winter excursions! We have climbed over snow mounds, trudged through messy slush, and delicately navigated icy sidewalks…together, with her exuding a peaceful contentment that warmed my heart and soul.
Nala is slower this year. Her joints hurt, and her muscles get stiff, but she still does her “senior walk” and gets a little prance going after she loosens things up a bit. I started to wonder if she still got the same joy from the winter months as she used to, or if she was simply happy enough to go for her walks, while my shorthaired dogs suffer through it in the name of exercise and mental health. I didn’t have to wonder for long. After our first decent snowfall this winter, we then got to experience a bout of frigid Alaskan temperatures, thanks to our new friend, Polar Vortex. Nala and I carefully walked down the back deck steps and into the snowy yard one morning. She stopped, put her nose up toward the sky and breathed in that glorious arctic air, and then looked at me with a mischievous look I haven’t seen in years. Her blue eye sparkled, and she launched herself into a goofy play bow, then started racing back and forth doing the puppy “zoomies”, mouth open wide, with a great big husky grin. She found her joy that morning. And she reminded me to never forget what sparks that type of reaction in me. That unstoppable surge of energy that can only come from living your truth and being in your element. It’s what you were made for. It’s why you’re here! What’s your joy?
I will remember to pay attention to that which sparks joy in my heart and to respect it for what it is. It is Soul. It is connected to the other realm and reminds me of why I’m here. I will listen to it and follow it, knowing that it will lead me to my personal peace and joy.