It’s hard for my spirit to sing when I feel encumbered by the hillocks of snow outside.

Each driveway in my neighborhood has mini mountains of snow piled high, as each snowstorm dumps a half-foot or more on the ground.

Each neighbor must heave shovels full of snow farther up toward the sky, as the snowfall amounts rise in Portland.

From my second floor window, it looks like an alpine village. I’m not a skier or lover of frozen fingers or toes. I prefer the feeling of grass under my feet and following the weekly progression of color spring through fall: snowdrops, crocus, daffodils, tulips, wisteria, lilacs, roses, lilies, dahlias, hydrangeas, red maple leaves — ahhhh.

The last storm left a fluffy blanket of white on everything, calm and peaceful as a child asleep, but what a hassle to deal with maneuvering by foot and in the car — and that is after I manage to squeeze out of the front door to shovel off my steps and walk. It is challenging not to feel a bit weary of all this snow.

Not so, as it happens, to my neighbors’ dog. I looked out and saw two humans scooping up snow with their shovels and throwing it over their shoulders to the tops of their driveway mountain range.

As I looked up from my book, I saw their black Lab entering the scene. He was frolicking in their valley of snow, kicking up his hind legs as he ran to and fro to whiff the fresh white stuff before him, looking over toward his masters, perhaps with a doggie smile on his face, and a bark saying, “Whee, look at me!”

My heart lifted at the scene, and I put my book aside to watch them. Soon the shovelers’ snow started flying higher through the air and the dog must have seen it as several balls thrown for him to catch.

He bounded over toward the driveway alps and took off with each jump, as if on a trampoline, snapping at the balls of snow with his snout and forelegs in the air; shovelers and aerialist dog rejoicing in the pure moments of play together.

My heart was lightened and winter felt a bit warmer as I watched them from my window.

Today, with the snow glistening from the sun, I look at the piles of snow across the street and remember that spontaneous ballet between humans and dog with a grateful smile. 

– Special to the Telegram