I’ve come to appreciate the little things in life ever more.
Especially over the past year, hunkered down at home, distanced from family and friends,
it’s those simple things, those smalls pleasures, that offer comfort and warmth.
Like a new puppy.
So it was we brought home a furry bundle, with the makings of a gorgeous golden coat that glints in the sun, beautiful brown eyes that beg for an ear rub and huge paws that pad beside us, where ever we go.
And just like that, I became a girl with a dog.
And a mission.
I’m determined to make this new little one part of our family. To teach him manners, basic good dog behaviors, sit, down, stay, to walk on a leash and to curb his enthusiasm every time he spots a cottontail or a cactus wren. To control his excitement when he meets our human friends, with four paws on the ground and a minimum of wet kisses, and to learn to get along with our older dog, who has been top dog, or our one and only, for the past two years.
It’s a lot for a dog and his girl.
And yet, I look forward to the early morning training walks, striding out of the house with a pup in tow, getting a jump on the day. I love the stillness, the quiet, the freshness of the air, the time to simply walk, to look, to listen. To be conscious, aware, grateful for the big things too.
I look up to track the sun’s gradual ascent, seeming to light the sky from behind, slowly turning the heavens from dark velvet to soft gray to pale blue, sometimes with a shimmer of pearly pink — those ancient rosy fingers of dawn — leading us towards a new day.
I watch as it crests the mountains, casting shadows on the peaks, illuminating the dusty green underbrush, punctuated with bursts of bright fuchsia or lemony yellow, the line of saguaros standing sentry on the ridges above.
I’m more attuned to the chill in the air, as the desert temperatures dip and the wind blusters, or its slightly imperceptible warming, heralding the coming of spring, and then summer.
My eyes keep watch for the errant rabbit or bird, a trio of coyotes in the brush,a bob cat on the road.
And I welcome the human company too, the walkers or hikers who greet us with a cheery good morning or a shouted good dog to the pup. The young blonde, walking briskly down the hill in neon with a megawatt smile to match; the trio of men and their dogs who wave hello as my well behaved pooch sits quietly on command.
There’s the stolid older gent, in bermudas and baseball cap, stopping to pick up an errant newspaper or discarded coffee cup to dispose. There’s the silver haired centenarian, with sparkling blue eyes as clear as water, who delights when we stop to let her run her fingers through the pup’s soft coat and nuzzle his head.
The morning treks feed my soul and lift my spirit and make me grateful, so very grateful, for the blessing of each new day and the wonder of it all, great and small.
Ah, this sweet puppy who has bounded into our lives and opened our hearts.
And isn’t that what love can do?