Hey everyone! Da Vinci here. I just had to share our latest truffle hunting adventure with you! The forest we went to yesterday looked like another planet! It’s snowing in our neck of the woods and that means truffle hunting gets interesting.

Mom took me to one of our usual forests and, to our surprise, there was snow actually covering the forest floor. It’s been an interesting winter! The snow was melting quickly and Mom probably should have been wearing rain pants. My paws were getting cold when we weren’t moving. Her knees must have been freezing! I love snow and thought it was fun to see our usual hunting spot transformed to a bright and shiny forest. It’s usually dark in there. That day it was brilliant with light, illuminating parts of the forest we don’t usually see.

We were having a great time until the trees threw their first snowball down at us. That first thud caught us by surprise. We realized that it was just melting snow but I crossed my paws that none of it fell on us. They were small clumps of snow and wouldn’t have hurt either of us but I prefer not to be surprised from above while I’m focusing down on the ground.

Here I am truffle hunting in snow.

There were a couple of moments when the combination of these new noises and the unfamiliar look of the forest made me uneasy. I could tell Mom also had moments of uncertainty as she assessed our surroundings. She always tracks our path so we know our fastest exit. I really appreciate that! The wonderful thing about yesterday’s truffle hunt, and the reason I wanted to share it with you, is how we not only mirrored each other’s worrisome emotions but also the calm emotions. We were in perfect balance and responsive to each passing moment. That doesn’t mean the hunt conditions were perfect. It means we were perfectly paired to work in those conditions, on that day and in those moments.

We were both startled by the randomly falling snow on multiple occasions. Startle responses interrupt our communication and, when that happens, the entire working dynamic changes. It’s impossible to truffle hunt without ever being startled so Mom has put a lot of effort into helping each of us respond to unexpected events. Just like a startle can interrupt our communication and send us spiraling into a cycle of hype-alertness, a calming act can interrupt the undesirable fear spiral. First, she always assesses the situation to make sure it is safe. Once she determines that we are safe, she brings her attention to her breath. It’s so simple and yet it settles both of us, bringing us back to a calm and congruent state.

How cool is that?

~Da Vinci

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