I grew up in Chicago, spent a year in Switzerland, and three in Minneapolis, so snowstorms and cold weather have been synonymous with winter for my entire life.
In the last few years—having shivered my way through more than forty arctic seasons—I discovered an appreciation for the cold weather. Not because I love the extra gear, the freezing temps, or how much longer it takes to get my kids out of the house in the morning before school (because I don’t!); but rather, I now recognize that there is a deeper purpose for every season.
All you need to do is look at the trees. When the leaves have finished displaying their incredible colors in autumn, they turn brown, dry up, and fall off the branches. There may be no visible signs of life, but we know that the tree is not dead. It is still very much alive—just resting, restoring, and silently growing. And there can be just as much beauty and peace in this quiet time as there is when the tree is full bloom. It’s all in our perspective. As I become more in tune with my own natural rhythm, it’s clear that my innate drive to make soup, bask in the stillness of a fresh snowfall, or cuddle up with my kids and dogs under the covers is an important part of feeding and nourishing my soul.
This cycle in nature reflects the way we operate in the human world. It takes time for people and organizations to expand and flourish. An idea appears and gets tended to through vision and hard work, until ultimately we see the results and success of that labor. After 18 years of publishing TAILS, I have witnessed many seeds planted in the animal community. Some are now as solid as oak trees, and others still saplings—but all share a strong and serious commitment to advocate for those without a voice.
From women like Christina Zelano, the founder of Chicago Chicken Rescue, who open their arms and homes to animals not traditionally found in shelters (read the story here), to those passionate entrepreneurs who put their hearts and souls into creating businesses aimed to make life easier, healthier, and happier for pets and their people (read Behind the Brand), to everyone who showed up to help empty Chicago’s Animal Care & Control when it was overcrowded (read In the Know), we have a solid network of people working on behalf of the animals.
As we crawl our way to the finish line of the cold weather and embrace the lush greenery that’s on its way, let’s take a moment to be grateful for all the work that gets done, whether it’s happening quietly under the surface or appears in full, bright colors for all to see. Every part of the process is important, and one cannot exist without the other.
Looking forward to seeing you and your companion animals out and about after the great thaw—
P.S. In this issue we dive into the truth about love between species (read the story here), so for those of you following along on the budding friendship between Tula and Spencer, things are progressing nicely. They continue to sleep closer and closer to one another, played a bit of tug-o-war with the rope toy, and have created a game out in the yard where Spencer “herds” Tula inside when it’s time to come in… with some friendly barking and chasing. While they are not napping together without encouragement just quite yet, things are moving in the right direction.
*Full disclosure: my daughter posed the dogs like this… but the good news is that Spencer stayed there for a short while afterwards!