Small Stone: Morning Walk
On our morning walk, my intention is to find a small stone. Instead, I return home with a pocket full of pebbles.
Walking before dawn, we are alone, together.
The boys smell something, track it in the dark with their sensitive noses. I see a blur, and catch a single reflecting eye with my headlamp, but it’s gone before I can turn my head all the way to meet it. It was probably a fox, usually is.
Along the river, it’s colder. It makes sense, because the water was snow not that many miles ago. I’m glad for the extra layer, the warmer gloves, and the thicker hat.
I smell a skunk, and am glad for the headlamp. I scan the path, its edges too.
Just before we reach the Soft Gold Little Dog Park, Dexter stops, looks at me happily, tail wagging–a tennis ball!
On the wooden bridge over the creek between Wood Duck Pond and the McMurry Ponds, fresh raccoon tracks. I wonder, as I always do: is it the same one that leaves footprints most mornings?
I scan the trees for owls, even though mating season is long over and the babies have most likely left the nest. The branches are empty, the sky quiet.
The back pond is thawing, but the beavers don’t come out of their den. Sam is ready anyway, hopping on his back legs, yodeling and whining, straining against the leash.
The dawn turns the clouds pink and the sky light blue.
Even though the water is clear, when we color the river, we see silver, gray, and mostly blue, with a touch of green. Walking this early, the river is also black and gold.
Towards the end of the trail and our walk, through the trees, the sun looks like a fire–which, I suppose, it is.