February 26, 2012

me and the dogs on a cold morning, like this one . . .

I'm an early riser. Some mornings, like this one, I wake up uncovered and cold. Stare at the clock focusing on the absurd time I must get up and run the dogs. Every morning 4 - 4:30 we keep our ritual. Some mornings are welcoming and there is a noticeable lift to the spirit as we jog out our 25-30 minutes. Other mornings, like this one, I wake up uncovered and cold. There is some fog and a heavy dew and my feet are sloppy wet and icy cold before I'm well off on the trail. Icy misery on a February morning. Returning to the house is not an immediate relief - my feet are that clubby cold and still wet. It is mornings, like this one, that I sometimes think it is crazy to wake at 4:00 or so to meet some dog schedule. But if either dog, neither a puppy in years, is a bit off her feed, it is risky not to take them for their run at once. Run before coffee. Run before a hot shower. But there is no doggy poop to clean in the foyer because one of the pups is not feeling well and cannot open the outside door on her own. Coffee and showers can wait. The two canine girls do have a schedule and mostly it melds well with my own. But some mornings, like this one, I wake uncovered and cold and it is wet and cold outside. But waiting for coffee, the dogs nuzzling my hand and waiting to see which room we go to next, it all changes. I realize how glorious some mornings, like this one, really are. I remember the Robert Hayden poem and I become solid and comfortable with my slowly warming feet.
Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

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