Ch.224 Walking at Daybreak

Ch.224 Walking at Daybreak


7:15 a.m. 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Just a hint of light in the sky.

Time for a walk.

          Blackie, my cat, has been awake a while, looking out my bedroom window. Levi, my beautiful collie, just came out of his bedroom, yawning. They are ready to go out with me now. We’ll head toward the creek, just one-half mile away. And I’ll walk slowly so that Blackie can keep up, since he gets a little scared moving in this direction, away from our neighbors.

          I’m walking northeast, in the general direction the sun rises at this time of year. Officially it won’t rise until 7:47 a.m. But it seems as if every step I take coincides with another sliver of daylight shimmering through the trees. Black to grey, grey to pumice white, pumice to silver, silver to icy blue.

          No cars this time of day. Quiet, except for a morning cry from a pheasant.  Not even a breeze. Silent, except when I hear Levi’s feet hitting the ground as he jogs to catch up with me. The creek is silent, too, now that it is no longer swollen from recent rains. I walk onto the bridge over the creek, studying how the water is deep and narrow on the north side of the bridge but wide and shallow on the south. And I remember, now as I write, how Pat taught our grandchildren to play “pooh sticks” on that bridge, each child tossing a stick onto the north side and then dashing over to the south side to see which stick floated through first. And I remember Pat and I throwing pebbles off the bridge to Merle, our 100+ pound Blue Merle shepherd, standing in the creek, as he barked furiously and tried to catch them.

          It’s light enough to notice a little fog around the nearby woods. It won’t linger long as the sky looks cloudless. Some of the trees are leafless now, while the rest stubbornly cling to their brown and desiccated memories of summer. Some, surprisingly this late in the year, still have green leaves. I’d like to be like those trees, keeping my leaves green as I age into the winter of my life.

          We turn around to head home from the creek. Often, we walk further, but this time I want to get home just as the sun rises at 7:47. On the way there Levi spots a deer and bounds after it, not to catch the deer (he never has and never will) but just so he can keep his hunting skills intact, his wolf instincts alive. Go, go, go, I think, a loving parent proudly admiring his child’s competence.

          We’ll walk again later today. Sunset is at 5:50 p.m.