It’s freezing cold outside. The wind is blowing and the cold air feels like sand-sized pieces of ice cutting into my cheeks. I pull my scarf up over my face as far as I can without blinding myself. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I stay home like the rest of the family and read a book on the couch? Why am I out here walking the dog in this weather? We carry on. Up the hill, around the lake, through the woods. It’s just the two of us out here. Me and my pup. I start to warm up, my heart beating harder, my breath coming a bit faster. I unzip the top part of my coat, loosen the scarf and start to look around. The sun is out, there are two birds hopping through the grass. I don’t recognize them. They look like beach birds. What are they doing here? I’ll have to ask Tim when I get home. He’s the bird guy. Then I see it. My first robin of the year. I look at him (or her?) S/he looks at me. Maybe the robin is thinking the same thing. What are we doing out here today? But now I have my answer. I am out here walking the dog because it makes me feel hopeful and optimistic. It reminds me that sometimes we need to push through a little bit of hardship to see the beauty.