I was up early, so I got the pups up early for our walk. Just a little after five, and we’re out the door. I’m sure the wife thinks I’m crazy, but I was awake and couldn’t sleep, and if I’m getting up the pups usually get up, too, so… out the door we go. It’s warm out this morning, warmer than it’s been. I have a long sleeve shirt on over my t-shirt, and by the end of the walk even that feels too much. I am already missing the winter. And before anyone responds with how bad a winter it’s been, I live in California and we had an exceptionally dry winter and we’re facing the worst drought on record… so, yes, I will miss winter, thank you. But there are clouds overhead… so maybe we’ll get some sprinkles? I can hope… so I do. And we walk in our neighborhood, up the hills, into the little gulleys, along the sleeping homes… and, even at this early in the morning, I see neighbors out for their morning. A lady walking here, a man on this street for his exercise… and, of course, the usual dog-suspects are all awake, warnings coming from behind fences and in dark back yards. The pups and I do our thing, still, and continue on our way. This morning little Jack is lagging a bit, so I slow my pace a little. He’s the eldest of the three. And he’s the smallest… not that you could tell by his spirit, though. Jack will try to dominate a Great Dane… I know, I’ve seen him do it at the dog park! But perhaps today he’s not quite feeling himself… Cathi and I watch for little hints as all three of our pups are older now. But he still loves these morning walks and is always eager for them. He gets so excited I can hardly keep him quiet in the mornings… On and on, we walk, we listen, we watch, we walk… Even this early, the neighborhood is awake.
We stepped out into the dark with only the morning star and the gentle light of the impending day to greet us. I could see the faintest hint of a deep red on the horizon, draped on the shoulders of Bear Mountain and the ridge line to the north. The neighborhood was already alive with the noise of Friday, an exclamation mark to the week that had come. Birds, trains, dogs, garbage trucks… everyone was awake. No sneaking quiet this morning. It’s funny to me how different each morning is around this same time. The pups and I walked along, with me looking over my shoulder to keep an eye on the dawn. More cars, a gardener and his truck, I pull the pups close and stick to the gutter as we walk the busier streets. We turn to the east, its the hill with the fire hydrant, the one that looks out across the east towards the mountains. The colors in the sky dazzle me… I stand and just look. Deep reds, oranges a hint of peach and pink… It almost hurts to look at it, to take it all in, and for that moment I feel like I am the only one in this universe, and this show in the sky, it is all just for me… As I am standing there, thinking this, looking at the spectacle of color, it subtly changes… the colors grow softer, the intensity diminishes just a little. I am awash in gratitude… That was the apex, that moment, there by the hydrant, there with the dogs oblivious to anything other than the smells on the grass, and it has just passed… The rest of the walk is literally downhill… And we turn for home, and I think of coffee, and as I walk along the final block to home, my nose catches just a hint of cooking bacon on the air… and I smile.
It’s cold out there this morning. There’s frost on the roofs and on the lawns. The doves huddle close on the phone lines, quiet. Yet the sun comes, dancing golden in the tops of the trees. It’s dancing on the lawns, it’s dancing into our lives. The light warms the roofs, it warms the streets, its warms our hearts.