(dedicated to Fritz, my German Shorthaired-Pointer)
Clock sounds at six.
It’s still dark, bitter cold.
Early January in northern Indiana.
Should I retreat to Dreamland?
I break loose from my Chicago Cubs bedding,
and put on warm running gear.
He hears me creaking down the stairs.
I am soon 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.
This Boy grinds like a puppy, not a ten-year-old.
His furry presence warms my body and soul.
We are one.
Choker-leash bells break the silence.
His tail wags uncontrollably.
Out the garage, into a foot of powder we go.
It’s dark, freezing cold.
Shall we turn back? Too late.
Best friend by my side.
We enter the Spicer woods.
The trees are outer space.
A headlamp lights the way.
I drop the leash,
and He’s gone.
An eerie freedom.
We love this Wilderness.
His bells shatter the silence, periodically.
What mischief is He getting into?
Truly, we own these trails.
He continues to check on me,
prancing like some sled husky.
He always knows where I will be.
Our only water, we share.
Trudging through deep snow,
marveling at God’s creation.
The forest deer seem jealous.
We exit our woodland paradise.
We can smell the hot chocolate.
A warm hearth awaits.
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.
Time to settle down.
Lying by the hot-coaled woodstove,
we rest on each other,
and trust in one another.
We are one.