Much to my disappointment, we have rushed head long into winter, skipping past fall and straight into scraping windshields on frosty mornings.
The first signs on winter have dropped into my backyard and like the Sunday paper in my drive way there is almost a noticeable thud accompanying the unanticipated cold to my world, for I am not ready.
Funny thing us humans, we know its cold but for some reason we have to see first hand.
It is an hour before sunrise when I step over two black piles of fur curled nose to tail in my kitchen and open the back door. The first cold of winter flows across the floor and two heads pop up with a look that says, “are you crazy?”
I step into the chilly darkness of my deck, the cold nose pressed against the back of my leg is a sudden reminder of why I don’t wear shorts in winter.
My two Labs look to me for approval, my “go on” is all they need before they bound down the stairs and slip into the blackness of a Carolina night. They’ll spend the next several minutes nose to the ground checking out whose come and gone during the night.
They are invisible to me, but I stand watch the dutiful doggie parent looking into the blackness for any signs of trouble. Thankfully my warm cup of coffee makes standing watch bearable but just barely.
The four legged duo, that I can not see, I clearly hear, as they move in tandem along the edge of “their” yard. They pause just briefly at each tree, then with leaves trailing in their wake they sprint to the next. Again and again, the stop and smell check this check that, is repeated. They are checking for anything different, anything at all that might need further investigation or heaven forbid a good roll around on the ground to get the sink all over my doggie self and bring it home, move.
I’m amazed at how things have changed, the morning dew along the wrought iron rails is gone in its place cold frosty metal. Gone are the sounds of frogs and crickets, the silence broken only by a Freightliner truck with one bad tire moving along the interstate. The sound fills the cold pre dawn air.
I listen and try to determine if the truck is moving west or east but it’s hard to tell, there are things that sound alone can not tell us except that in the cold air sounds that have been missing are now surprisingly clear. The road is more than four miles away and the truck now five minutes later its bad tire still rhythmically thumping the concrete pavement seems no further down the road.
How strange that while I have this troubling sense that life is rushing by the truck in the far off distance seems to be standing still, despite the fact that I know better.
Winter is a time of reflection, a sobering reminder that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.
For some reason the Pete Seeger song covered by the Byrds in 1965 and adapted entirely from the Book of Ecclesiastes is on my mind. Yet this morning’s purpose seems unclear.
I listen for the truck again and its gone.
Two sets of thundering paws racing up the stairs of my deck bring my wandering mind back home again.
Another season, other page to turn and two cold noses with otter tails that thump rhythmically across the wooden deck to remind me of my purpose, to provide large amounts of doggie food.