Seeing: Bits of snow and ice, hints of the winter to come. Joyous paw prints left behind in the dense mud. A vibrant sky peeking down at me through the pine boughs. A wagging tail. Trees swaying to the song of the breeze.
Hearing: The crunch of pine needles underfoot. An irritated squirrel, chirping his irritation directly at Cholula. The wind whispering secrets through the dwindling aspen leaves. The creak of old trees as they rub against each other. The muted thump of a pinecone falling onto the trail.
Tasting: A honey peanut Clif MoJo bar for energy. The faint saltiness of perspiration as I lick my lips. Sweet tangerine lip balm, applied halfway up the trail. Crisp, refreshing water on my tongue.
Smelling: Musty fallen trees, disintegrating into the forest floor. The damp earthiness of the ground after a storm. Wisps of smoke from fires burning for warmth in nearby wood stoves. The nostalgic scent of pine that somehow feels more festive this time of year.
Feeling: A significant chill in the air. The sharpness of each cold breath in my lungs as I puff my way up the hill. A slight burn in my legs on this first hike in over a week. Mud splattering from my heels onto the back of my calves. Deep love for my happy dog. Rejuvenation in my soul. Gratitude for this life.