One of the great things about dogs is how much they love to exercise. I have a cattle dog cross who is three years old and who loves nothing better than to run, sniff and chase things. What’s more, if he doesn’t get in some exercise every day he becomes…shall we say…anxious (psychotic).
Having an amazing companion like Melvin is one of the great joys of my life and we go for a 40 minute to 1 hour long walk every morning before I go to work (on a good week I will walk every day while a bad week would be only 2-3 days). I have been taking photos every now and then when we are out and about and have a collection of photos spanning each season. Where we walk is not particularly inspiring, it’s not along the beach or in the bush, it is just suburbia. But there are moments of beauty worth recording.
Last year I actually started to think about writing a poem about how much I enjoy our walks, and as a bit of a memento of my boy and this time in our lives together. Now, let me preface this by saying I am not creative and writing poems is not a past time I partake of regularly. But for some reason I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and finally sat down to write it up.
He wakes in the early morning darkness. Consciousness the result of a silent, unexplained trigger only he can know.
He pads into the room, his paws clicking on cold wooden boards and the chink of his metal tag breaking the muted sounds of gentle breathing.
Expectantly he waits, eyes focused and ears pricked. Unmoving.
Shrill beeping suddenly breaks the expectant silence. After some rustling and mutters pass, stillness again sinks into the room. Unshared tension builds.
A soft, pliant hand hangs carelessly over the side of the bed.
She wakes to the feeling of rasping wetness at her palm, followed quickly by a small snuffling nose and a broad soft forehead.
‘5 more minutes, Melvin.’
A soft piteous whine draws her further from the heavy world of dreams. Unremembered strangers unfurl through her mind before being permanently forgotten as the shadowed room comes into focus.
She leaves the night behind, sliding quietly from the beds’ feathered embrace and careful not to disturb its remaining passenger – who burrows deeper into his lonely contemplations.
Cold clothes and cold shoes dash any remaining thoughts of sleep from her warm body.
As shoe laces are tied, still wet with yesterday mornings dew, he interrupts.
Her hands are diverted from their task. She runs her fingers through his soft fur and closes her eyes while he lays his head on her shoulder. A moment shared, irrevocably stolen from the days chaos.
They break away simultaneously, alerted by the slow passage of time. Together, they step into the first light of the day.
Crisp. Cool. Simmering light sits on the pink and purple horizon. Quiet.
He trots through the wet grass, nose trailing the ground and paint-pot dipped tail held high. She lets thoughts pass through her without allowing the sticky remains of a single idea to cling to her awareness.
His gait is sporadic, as unknown scents distract, while she walks steadily along her carefully mapped route. They criss-cross each other in a well practised ballet of motion.
As they walk through the sleeping neighbourhood, a ripple of indistinguishable greetings and warnings often follow from his caged kindred.
At the park, his muscles bunch and he stretches to his full length while eyes never stray from the small yellow blur. He leaps explosively into the air, with no thought of landing, to snatch his target from the air.
By the time the duo return home, the day has begun in earnest. The peace of the early morning is shattered in the predictability of day.
Lost. But the feeling lingers and will return again.
Before the sun rises on a new day.