Sunday, February 1

Super Bowl Tradition

I've said it before, if you do it more than once it's a tradition. Since declaring my independence from television, football has become less and less interesting to me. I know the Super Bowl is today because chorus rehearsal was cancelled. Do I know who is playing? No. Do I know where it's being played? No. Do I care?

Last year on Super Bowl Sunday, Mocha and I went for a drive and discovered a wonderful new park and whooping cranes. Not bad for an afternoon's outing.

This morning, we awoke to clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine and warmer temperatures. It was 34 degrees at 7:00 am! The day held promise for temperatures in the 60s, so it was on with the hiking boots and off to Bells Bend Park.

Mocha does the happy dance when the hiking boots go on and gets downright skippy when I pack bottles of water, the camera, snacks and treats. That's a sign we're going to be gone for a while. Imagine her confusion when half way there, I turned the car around after discovering I'd packed everything but her harness and leash. Rats!!!!

Back on the road with ALL our supplies, we were both excited about what we might find today. With clear skies and high winds there was a good chance we'd see hawks or eagles.

This time last year, ours was the only car in the parking lot. This year it was packed but we would not be deterred. As soon as I put the car in park, Mocha started moaning and bouncing on her front legs saying, "Hurry momma, hurry!!! Must get outdoors and run free."

Adequately harnessed, leashed and armed with water and camera, off we went. Immediately, our bodies were buffeted with strong winds off the Cumberland. Tall dry grasses in the open fields were swirling and dancing. This was going to be a challenge. Glad I brought my walking stick.

Despite the number of cars in the parking lot, we never saw another soul on the trails. We did hear the scampering of small animals and a few deer through the tall grasses, but never laid our eyes on them. Mocha bounded off the trail several times in hot pursuit but always came up empty, except for a big smile and wagging tail. Despite the wind, the sun was so strong I had to take off my February!

The trails were muddy in places from all the rain but the most striking thing was how tall the grasses, milkweed, ironweed and thistle had grown, as high as seven feet! At times, it felt as if we were walking through a maze. The beautiful amber, purple and rust hues of the winter grasses stopped me in my tracks. Even in the dead of winter, there is beauty to behold.

By the time we made the loop back to the starting point our tongues were hanging out. On the drive home, Mocha curled up in the front seat and when I looked over, she was looking back, grinning from ear-to-ear. She must have worn herself out because all afternoon she's been sleeping and every so often, her tail thumps as she dreams of running free.

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