Every morning about 6:21, I take McGee out for a walk. Okay, some days it’s 6:22. Both of us are creatures of habit. Here’s how we go.
I rise from the table. Time to gear up. Not just the leash and the poop bag. I need coat, reflector vest, ski cap with built-in LED. Daylight Savings time interrupted our progress, hurled us back an hour into darkness.
Exiting the garage, McGee takes the lead. We turn left, and I search the sky for Venus bright light in an otherwise empty sky. Today the sky is overcast, but the smell of spring is strong, thawing soil and a fine mist. I drink in the air. The street deserted, the houses dark, we walk in the head lamp tunnel.
My eye focuses on the horizon, gradients of deep blue, a pale strip at the horizon. The sun lies just beyond the edge. “Another week,” I think to myself, “and I may not need my headlight.” In the dark, both lonely and romantic, a movie scene…almost, we cross streets, make turns. McGee checks each bush, hydrant, mailbox or rock, keen interest, though the smells must all be familiar. “Morning rituals, like me checking emails and blogs,” I think.
Down the next street we see Dunkin’ lit in the distance, the highway bending behind it. Headlights, tail lights float across our screen. I try to tune out whining tires and rumbling engines. This is a nature walk, not a traffic preview. I glance up at the sky hoping for a break.
Another turn and we’re on a cut through from highway to Post Road, drivers accelerating like it’s a runway. Hustling through this stretch, we’re climbing now, our only hill. Evergreen shadows and heavier breathing. I speed up, giving McGee an occasional yank, trying to raise the heartbeat. Cresting the hill we veer toward a downhill. The shadiest portion, followed by a break in the trees. Where the sidewalk ends, I look up at the sky, realizing it’s lighter than when we left, the cusp of day, the cusp of spring. We turn toward home.