I wake up early, put on jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, and walk softly into the still dark kitchen to make coffee. Bold, the usual eight cups, with a six and a half minute brew time in my trusty Moccamaster. The pup hears me fill up my mug, jumps off the bed, and shakes herself awake.
I turn open the blinds and glance out the window to note the condition of dawn: still dark.
We put on our slickers and head out into a light rain. I don’t know it yet, but in a few minutes, I’ll wish I had worn my rain pants. The clouds are about to burst open and pour out their pails. But at this moment, I’m still full-coffee-mug optimistic.
I stop to turn on the water pump in the front yard to drain the moat. Silt and rainwater flow from a long hose into the street and wash down to the neighboring storm drain. It’s been almost three months since this excavation for perimeter drains started. Another month to wait before city crews arrive to provide this old cottage with its own, new storm drain connection. Until then, every day it rains (which is almost every day of winter)…moat duty continues.
The pup tugs on her leash, and we head for the cemetery. Dogs are not permitted here, but we walk curbside on a bed of pine needles and mud. The pup somehow knows not to do her business on the graves, but sometimes she follows the scent of a deer or a hare and ends up squatting respectfully between them.
I look to the horizon and note the condition of the day: soggy.
We walk to the rocky beach. There’s a lot of slippery kelp today, wet logs, wet everything. I have my usual morning mishap: while standing too close to the water’s edge, my boots and jeans are suddenly submerged by a rushing wave. I have my usual reaction: a soft smile, a shrug.
The pup points her nose in the air and sniffs for otters. A few seagulls bob on the surface of the water, in and out of floating driftwood. This is how we ordinarily greet the day, by facing the sea with our quiet thoughts and checking in with the world.
We leave the beach now and cross the street. The sound of the sea disappears behind us, as we walk into the park. The ground is saturated and squelches under our feet. But oh, the grass is green, the moss luminously so. The wind runs up the street and shakes the trees for a moment.
I take a sip of lukewarm coffee and note the condition of the neighborhood: still asleep.
We’re on the move faster now; the pup has suddenly remembered this is the way home to her breakfast bowl. She has also missed sniffing one particular blade of grass at the corner that holds the secrets to her invisible scented universe. We allow one full minute to record the code, and then onward to the kibble. The bus goes by, a city garbage truck goes by, a hardy cyclist goes by, a couple walking their husky goes by.
We’re up the driveway now, and in through the back gate. It does my soul good to have a garden again. I just moved to this cottage in midsummer; I’m not yet acquainted with all the plants or the full cycle of the growing year on this humble plot of land. I pause to make peace with this large muddy mountain of excavated dirt before me. I forgive you. It seems more productive to relish the spring challenge of restoring and creating beauty around the open wound, rather than fret about the current mess. But oh, what a mess!
The hummingbird feeder is empty, but there is still suet in the cage, and all manner of backyard birds are sending it spinning in the rain: juncos, sparrows, wrens, and one portly spotted towhee. I note this, too.
The pup points her nose to the door and looks at me with her soft brown eyes. I open the basement door to a rush of warmth, and hopefulness, and my Love who is waiting for me at the top of the stairs.