When the alarm sounds, it might as well be a starting gun.
As I stumble down the stairs, my knees creak as if to say, “Are you serious? Not again; isn’t it too early?”
As I approach her cage, she’s in the ready position.
Mouth open; tongue wagging; a faint smile appears.
We exit the house and grimace as a harsh winter chill splashes across our faces. This isn’t quite Minnesota, but this particular Texas morning toughens the skin.
We press onward – four feet hit the ground in melodic fashion, breaking the morning’s quiet cold. My feet shuffle awkwardly; I’ve not yet found my center. The dog’s in full stride while my legs feel as if they are blocks of wood.
Another morning jog begins; dog and man drifting into the distant darkness. We only see a few cars; they briefly paint our path with their incandescent headlights.
My knees and joints take 5 minutes to get accumulated, but Ruby, our athletic Labrador, strides fully, chasing a scent; the malevolent remnants of skunk or the markings of a coyote on the lookout for an early morning snack.
With a few hundred strides behind us, we run in unison. Ruby knows the twists and turns; she guides me as we appear under the faint hiss of a streetlight.
This won’t be our last run, although she sprints for home as if this were life’s sole purpose, a final push to define the day ahead.
At run’s end, I gasp for breath while she sneaks a furtive glance at me; her countenance saying, “Is that all you’ve got?”
Until next time,