The cobwebs clung to my eyes as
I struggled to identify the alarm clock on the cluttered night stand. My right
arm, still stiff from sleep, snaked out from the blanket and hit the snooze. In
the sudden quiet my brain fluttered to functional. Morning. Time to get up.
I disentangled myself from the
covers and wandered into the bathroom. Ten minutes later, skin still flushed
from the hot water and the rough towel, all my parts had awakened. My eyes saw
the laundry piled high in the corner, my nose smelled the dog who now waited
expectantly, my ears heard the city stirring outside in the lightening dark of
the early winter morning.
First things first, walk the
dog. He’sa pretty tolerant mutt, with
the appearance of a collie but God knows what mixed in. But he needs to get out
I slipped on a pair of torn
jeans and an almost-clean flannel shirt and struggled into my walking shoes,
clipped on the leash and we were off. George waited with the impatient patience
of a big dog until the door was open when he immediately pulled me out the
door.I managed to swing the door shut
as we launched down the steps and up the street.
George’s morning walks are all
very similar. He races from one checkpoint to the next, always sniffing the
same items, always relieving himself in the same place. He spends 10-30 seconds
at each stopping place, I think depending on whether the smell has changed
since the day before or not. Weather doesn’t matter to George. The routine is
the same rain or shine, hot or cold.
Of course, for me, some days the
walk is interminable and others it ends all too soon. Today is nothing special.
The wind sliding down the street is cool but brings with it the smell of the
city waking up and the promise of a dry, sunny day.
George bounds back up the steps
to the landing and waits as I follow more slowly to reopen the door. His tail
wags happily as it always does after the morning walk. It’s good to be George.
Time for breakfast.George sits quietly by his bowls, his eyes
watching my every move as I putter around the small kitchen. I fire up the
coffee pot and drop a bagel in the toaster before opening the cabinet and
scooping out a goodly portion of Dog Chow. George tosses his head a little when
the scoop goes in – he knows breakfast is on its way – but he doesn’t otherwise
move until the food is safely in the bowl and the scoop is on its way back
under the cabinet.
I get out plate, knife and
coffee mug as George happily (and noisily) munches his breakfast. He is
finished by the time the toaster pops out the bagel and the coffeepot clicks
indicating the brewing cycle is done. He trots off to lie down on the as yet
unmade bed leaving me alone to ponder the sunlight filtering through the small
This is the loneliest part of
the morning for me, alone with my coffee and my thoughts sitting at my battered
1970s table on its matching metal and foam chair. Sometimes I savor the quiet,
others I hasten through wishing to be anywhere but here.
George is oblivious to this, my
morning crisis, the first of many such small crises over the course of the day.
He is happily snoring almost from the time he hits the bed, thinking dog
thoughts, probably about the smells he just encountered, piecing together the
story of the night based on his data-gathering. He shows no signs of
loneliness, no sign of ever wanting to be somewhere else. Some days I envy him.
Today is a good day. The bagel
tastes fresh; the coffee has the sharp edge I like, no heavy thoughts intrude.
A bird even drops by near the small window to sing to me.Not bad.