If not for the pup and the ritual of our early morning walk, I might not have banked so much joy, watching her sweet hobby-horse bounce as she runs for the sand. I wouldn’t have seen that barred owl swish overhead in a silent majestic flight. I’d have missed the quiet presence of the setting moon, and an infinity of stars.
I’d be much less likely to embrace the rain. Especially on blustery mornings like today. But we have our ritual, rain or shine.
I rise early, put on jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, and walk softly into the still dark kitchen to make a pot of coffee. Bold, the usual eight cups, with a six-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.
Slickers on, the pup and I 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, washing down the neighboring storm drain.
It’s been almost three months since this excavation for perimeter drains began. Still another month to wait before city crews are scheduled 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.
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 also 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 the pup and I 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 saturated ground squishes 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. But first, must sniff one particular blade of grass at the corner, holding secrets to her invisible scented universe. We allow one full minute to record the code, 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. I pause to make peace with the large muddy mountain of excavated dirt before me. I forgive you.
The hummingbird feeder is empty, but there is still suet in the cage, and all manner of hungry backyard birds send 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, hopefulness, and my Love who is waiting for me at the top of the stairs. ❖