I have a new dog.
Every morning around 6am he starts shaking his barrel of a body, whining, and, if neither of those work, licking my face until I get up to take him on a walk.
I am not what you would call a morning person.
Usually I pull on whatever clothes I wore the day before, sliding into my sneakers and stumbling out of the house before my brain has a chance to catch up to my body and say, “No thank you.”
I never regret taking this morning walk, though some days I avoid it anyway, nudging my husband awake. And sometimes my husband wakes before me, returning from the walk before I know he’s gone.
I am not what you would call a morning person. Or even particularly outdoorsy.
But there is something magical about the early morning, before the city is awake. My feet keep moving one in front of the other while my mind uses the drumbeat to sort thoughts. It works while I observe with fuzzy curiosity. Sometimes surprising me with what is unresolved from days, weeks, or years past. Sometimes releasing tears as I remember a friend that I have lost.
I let the tears run. There is no one sitting on their front steps to observe me wipe my eyes.
My dog trots alongside me, leash slack until we turn onto a street that has been previously unexplored. Then he uses his fifty-six pounds of muscle to strain with all his might, desperate to inhale the scents of a single blade of grass that holds the key to this time and space.
My dog is not only a morning person, he’s an all the time person. The world is forever new, forever now. He jumps up with excitement each time I reach for his leash, even though it is a now-familiar dance we play each day, even though my human mind so easily finds it mundane.
I wonder sometimes if this walk is the most important thing I do each day.
If my work is my feet’s prayerful pattering. If my job is to say yes to my own forever new, forever now life. To be filled with gratitude for a single, delicious blade of grass.
It is almost enough to convert me to the morning.