The quiet calm of early rising. First stirrings. A creak on the steps, always that same spot. The dog rustles in his bed, sniffing the air to know what the day will bring, stretching his legs, wondering about food and weather, sensing his master’s mood. A moment to stop and think, to consciously embrace a new day, its challenges and the gentle grace it brings. Breath and life, an old song rattles in the back of my mind. When did I first hear that, those artful notes, that plaintive melody?
He is older now, our pooch. Almost venerable in his doggish ways. He patiently sits by the window and waits, looking out, scanning the yards, his domain. He knows every inch of it, every corner and crack, every twig fallen from a tree. We slip out of the door from the warmth of home to another world. A red light slowly, softly, gently, yet inexorably rises in the east. Street lights begin to sputter and go out, like giant candles whose wicks have run down into melted wax, agents of their own destruction.
Up ahead a raccoon crosses our path, pausing for a moment to stale balefully at us with his bandit eyes. Everything is heightened. Each bird’s song can be heard. The wind, only in the upper branches of the trees, murmurs of summers past and springs to come. Stars and planets shine brightly. There is Venus, there Jupiter, there red-tinted Mars. A sickle moon presides over the heavens, almost austere in its dignity, its endless rounds of waxing and waning. There is a quiet in these moments that is restful and pregnant at the same time, soon to be released, but also precious.
Lights flicker in homes along the way, others rising to a new day. Soon the phones will be ringing, the highway in the distance humming, the emails dinging, all of the noise of modern life in its constant cacophony. But not quite yet. Dawn still stubbornly clings, refusing for yet another moment (or two) to relinquish this early morning sacred time to the sun. With gratitude we’ll wait patiently, and walk on.