The weather has been beautiful, although after that mild winter I feel strangely cheated. Maybe that's why the promise of spring hasn't been making me feel as "up" as it usually does. More likely, it is the flashes of death-related sadness, though. I didn't really get to deeply grieve Sophie the way I probably would have if Bob's mother hadn't gotten sick. So now the grief has arrived, a double dose at once, and it is making spring bittersweet. Late last week I got a call to sponsor an Ulster SPCA dog in the Freeman, and I did, in honor of Sophie. Then a letter arrived, saying one of Bob's colleagues had made a donation in Sophie's memory to Cornell's veterinary medicine school. How nice. It made us both cry.
Earlier today, I was outside with Sam, Rosie and TB/TC, looking over the yard. Rosie has barked on three occasions at this point. Once last week, when I arrived home after a campus day, once a few days ago, when she didn't like her dinner but wanted to guard it from Sam (she has to be fed in a crate because of this behavior), and once yesterday, when she was outside. Bob and Sam had gone in the yard to feed the birds, something Sam loves to do. He gets very excited, barking and jumping around. She ran outside, joined in, seemed to think Sam might have been in distress. When she was in her crate guarding food, it was almost a howl, not quite. The other two times it was very screechy, not hound-like at all. It is as if she is learning how to bark. We are both delighted that she can make sounds, and is getting comfortable enough to try it.
She hasn't barked today, but the animals were really enjoying being outside, and I thought, "what would take away these blues?" Next spring, if I'm alive...it came to me -- yard work. It is still more than two months too early to plant (except maybe spinach), but I can clean up my containers and trim away dead growth. So I came inside, had lunch, finished up pending work (break really helped me to catch up) and that's the plan for this afternoon.
Added: Did some yard work, met my goal -- it was actually a little too hot for what I am wearing. The dogs grew impatient and wanted to come inside!