My friend, Mary, is fond of saying 'sometimes your heart gets broken and sometimes it gets broken open.'
This morning, my dog and I were walking in the park along the Monongahela River. The snow was falling in big fluffy flakes that stick on your nose and linger a moment before melting. Ours were the first footprints in the snow. I always love that.
Normally, we play a little frisbee in the mornings, the pup and I. Frisbee is her favorite, but today she was not having it. There were other distractions.
There was no wind and the still, cool air held a web of invisible trails too good to pass up. She led, I followed. She picked up one that took us in a loop-de-loop through the Pony League field and off under the fence where we picked up another more interesting trail that took us over to the giant pile of bird seed barely visible under the snow. Leaving that, we moved in a zigzag up through the parking lot to the pavilion perched on the bank of the river. One of my favorite spots for breakfast.
I sat on the picnic table and pulled a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of my pocket.
A tug and eight barges filled with coal passed out of the lock and into a small lane cleared by traffic on the opposite side of the river. Our side was frozen. One solid sheet as far as I could see in either direction.
Twelve Canada geese marched back and forth on the ice honking taunts at the dog who was busy ignoring them. The canvasbacks sat quietly watching in parties of three or four. Two stark white domestic ducks wandered up furtively like out-of-towners looking for directions.
The coal-laden barges made small waves as they passed. I sat admiring the scene, a snapshot of my life. Frozen in place while the world passes by on the other side.
The small waves built momentum and slapped against the edge of the ice slab, sending a tiny spray up at the edge. The ice appeared to be holding its ground, or its water. Then a crack, like a gun shot, sped diagonally to the shore. The dog moved in under my feet. Another split a party of ducks in two. One quacked as he fell into the water, forgetting for a moment that he could swim. The little white ones flew off to the safety of the shore.
The ducks and geese flew in all directions while the waves hit the smaller slabs of ice into each other. They cracked and popped until the once solid sheet was in small pieces which slowly merged into the flow of the river and floated away.
So much for feeling sorry for myself. Time to get on with it.
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