In fairness, every season had an aspect that counted among his favorites. Summer had the best hunting, winter had the whimsical joy of snow, spring had the rebirth of all the plants he loved to cultivate, but fall had his favorite colors.
It was too early still for the blaze of autumn reds and oranges, but they were coming. There had been a chill in the air each morning, euphorically refreshing after a hot summer under his heavy tricolor coat. It put a spring in his step and a jaunty tilt to his night-sable, star-spangled wings. It put a twinkle in his russet eyes as he surveyed the old hunting grounds, alert for a familiar scent or sight.
He wasn't sure how long he had been gone this time. Memory had not been the collie dog's strong suit after that incident with the faulty Life blessing some years ago. Something about dying old and being resurrected young had scrambled that part of his brain, he suspected. It troubled him, but only a little. He fretted that he might have left friends or family without a proper goodbye, but then again, it was hardly the first time he'd taken an extended and unexpected vacation. Everyone who'd known him knew what to expect.
So the guilty little voice in the back of his head nagged as it always did, but it was no match for the joy of the oncoming season.