Clock sounds at six.
Still dark and bitter cold.
Early January in Northern Indiana.
Should I retreat to Dreamland? No.
Break loose from the Chicago Cubs bedding.
Put on my insulated running attire.
He hears me coming down the stairs.
I am greeted by the fine wine of a canine.
I am immediately followed to the kitchen.
Homemade oatmeal kind of morning.
Is he aware?
I lace up the Brooks.
Constantly interrupted by a wet nose and tongue.
Grinds like a puppy, not a ten-year-old, like himself.
His presence and fur warms my body and soul.
We are one.
Choker-leash bells break the silence.
Tail is wagging, uncontrollably.
Out the garage, into two feet of white powder.
Dark, oak-shadowed road.
Turn back? No.
Best friend by my side.
Woods is outer space.
Headlamp lights the snowy trail.
No more leash.
Nothing healthier for a creature.
Freedom in the wilderness.
What mischief is he getting into, now?
Sounds of bells shatter silence, periodically.
Truly, we own these trails.
Comes back and checks on me every few minutes.
Prancing like some sled Husky.
Always knows where I will be.
Share the water.
Trudging through deep snow.
Marveling at God’s creation.
Spotted deer seem jealous.
Exit the woodland paradise.
I can smell the hot chocolate.
Six legs on the road.
Racing the last quarter mile.
I drop the leash.
Every man for himself, survival.
Breathing elevates then subsides.
Smells fill our nostrils.
We settle down.
Lying by the hot-coaled woodstove.
Rest on each other.
Trust in one another.
We are one.