Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Yard, The Deck, The Dock, The Dog
As I stand on my dock and survey all the I own and much more that I don't, I am struck by the wonder of it all. The dawn, the birds and endless flow of tide and time and the soft scent of the South Carolina sea breeze.
The dawn brings a familiar glow of warm gold and soft yellow as it highlights the swirls of mist that rise from the calm waters like ghosts of all things past.
The nearly full moon overhead seems out of sinc with the rotation of the earth, and soon it will be hidden from view for all but those aware of her faint shimmer.
Even the smallest sound is so very focused in the early morning. There are two wood ducks chattering back and forth, unseen by me they are somewhere up in the marsh grass a short 50 yards across the small creek that fills at high tide and empties at low. No doubt they are concerned about Madsion's intense stare, but even my water loving Labrador Retriever is in no mood for a swim on this chilly morning.
A Great Blue Heron glides across the marsh winging his way to a favorite fishing spot just out of sight. Normally I'd venture across the lawn and into the trees and brush just to watch his patience at work. But my coffee's gone cold, the damp air has chilled me to the bone and I long for a warmer jacket.
The day has a long list, and Madsion will not stop stepping on my feet until she's fed, a ritual that requires that she chase her metal bowl across the deck, banging on it relentlessly, pushing it with her snout until at last and mercifully she has turned it over, and is able to grab it with her mouth. The quiet returns just long enough for my ears to stop ringing when she drops it with the sound of a hundred cymbals at my feet. And if I am not quick enough the process will repeat again and again until I get the urgent fed me now message or the steel bowl rolls into the creek.
The ritual resumes with my dog's repetitive jumps of pure joy at the sight of food in the bowl. The endless jumping, leaping and pounding of the deck by a 70 pound lab is an amazing sight.
Down! The command is more a plea than an than order and down she goes and she'll stay there until I say OK.
And I wait, and wait, and wait for Madison has the patience of a Heron.
At OK she bounds up and with tail beating back and forth consumes a pound of dog food in about 50 seconds as if she hadn't been fed in days.
I am certain that the sound of our post dawn routine disturbs those who can sleep late into the morning, for miles around.
A crab boat and the distinctive sound of a two stroke outboard moves across the marsh more than a mile away, but the sound is so clear that I can almost feel the salt air rushing past me as if I were along for the ride.
It's steady hum fade and suddenly I am reminded that my day can't wait, I too must be going for the sun is already racing across the sky, chasing the unseen moon and time and tide wait for no one.
My life doesn't have the patience of a Lab, but I am grateful for her boundless energy, that is until she steps on my foot again and leans her bulk against my clean khaki pants.
I can't help but pat her head and say: