Having a dog often entails bundling up, venturing out late into the night, and blasting away any warmth and sleepiness you’ve been building up all evening, to give her some needed relief and exercise.

As yet another snowfall blankets the Midwest, even a winter lover like myself sighs a big sigh. It will be March in a few days. The birds know it; I heard the first of their springtime tweeting just yesterday morning.

But on go the boots and on goes the leash to a jubilant, bright-eyed, hip-swaying dog who’s ready for some excitement.

Once we’re outside and I close the door to the warmth and light and noise of the kids’ electronics, I feel like Sugar and I have just stepped onto the Moon. No one is out, no moving cars in sight. While Sugar sniffs wildly under bushes and pokes her nose into rabbit tracks, looking up comically with a snow cone nose, my steps make that crisp, chunky sound that only happens in extreme cold and feels like walking on Styrofoam.

After walking several blocks we come across three little pines still bleakly blinking their colored holiday lights (still?). It’s at this point that I realize I can’t feel my fingers or toes… time to head back. We turn, and I see not lights now but glitter, silver glitter sprinkled liberally and twinkling brightly across every snow bank. Perhaps a combination of the temperature and fresh moisture, but never before have I seen such an animated brilliance to the newly fallen snow.

Now I’m scary cold (Sugar seems oblivious) so we high-step run as best we can through the fresh soft inches covering the old rock hard inches of this winter’s accumulation.

Before heading in, we stop for a few more moments to bask in the darkness, the brightness, the peaceful silence, of a late winter’s snow.