Mondays can be slow moving in my house, and today was no exception. It was a struggle to wake up in the darkness of rain. It seemed like the sun wasn't ever going to rise, and when I rubbed Penelope's back to rouse her from sleep, she commented, "It seems like the middle of the night." After a breakfast of chilaquiles and swapping fleeces for winter coats, the kids were off, with umbrellas in hand, to catch the bus.
It's an unusually warm day and I swear it sounds different outside. Is that possible? Does the temperature, humidity, and precipitation affect sound? Anyway, as I made my way to the barn in the strange stillness, I heard that I was not alone. Ten deer were nearby---running and reveling in the humidity and warmth. They seemed to be chasing each other and stretching their legs for the sheer pleasure of it.
At the barn, the cats lingered. They were fascinated with the water moving beneath the ice on a partially frozen stream. Ninja kept sticking her paw into the frozen water. I laughed knowing there weren't any fish--just bubbles and current, but I think that she was happy to be hunting. Winter can be boring and restrictive for the cats, too.
I set up a grooming station (stool and brush) near the ducks in order to spend sometime with them. The cats followed me. Ninja, in particular, gets jealous. She requires periodic and reassuring pets. The ducks, however, kept their eyes on Ninja quacking to let her know that she should keep her distance from them. She minded them.
I always love the peace of grooming and snuggling with bunnies, but this morning, it was near euphoria to be outside and not be cold. It's been so long! I hadn't realized how fun it is to just notice the outside world, to watch the animals, to get lost following squirrels or birds. I love winter, but I largely experience it in motion--going for brisk hikes, rushing between house and barn, and blinking to keep your eyeballs from freezing.
So, today's challenge for Year of Play is to watch animals this week to see how they play. Notice how they are interacting with their environments. Does the temperature or weather influence their moods and behavior?
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.