My new puppy Marge is turning this former night owl into a reluctant morning person. Today, while walking at 6:45 a.m. (yes, you read that right -- A.M. -- as in six-friggin-forty-five in the MORNING), after I blinked the sleep from my eyes, I admitted to myself that there's something special about strolling around the neighborhood when the only sounds are twittering birds, the paper boy's rumbling truck, and a breeze rustling the trees that seemed to whisper hush every time one of my feet struck the pavement. Each morning, Marge seems to want to get up and out a little earlier, and she's shaking up my routine. In more ways than one. For instance, this morning she insisted on turning left to cut across the park rather than walking our usual route around it. So we did. Marge, who normally prances happily along at my side, strained at the leash a bit when she spotted the school playground. Since nobody was out for her to bother, I gave her some slack. A lot of slack. The closer we came to the swings and slide and merry-go-round, the faster she trotted until, finally, she ran, splashing through rain puddles, pouncing at fallen leaves, one ear flopped back, tail wagging. I wondered if she'd caught the scent of all the children who play there, day in, day out, and they smelled like FUN! This was a place to explore.
Since I'm not normally outside at such an early hour, I noticed things I miss on my usual later-in-the-day excursions: the morning mist on my skin, dew on the roses I pass by routinely, a pretty white-haired little old woman who lives down the street. I've never seen her before, but she was out to pick up her paper and we said "hello" to one another.
When Marge and I made it home a half hour later, I wasn't the least bit sleepy anymore. I only required one cup of coffee to kick my brain into gear instead of my usual two. As I made my way to the computer and my story-in-progress, I felt a little like Marge headed for the playground. For the first time in a long while, the writing ahead of me smelled like fun rather than work. I couldn't wait to enter the world where my characters live, to explore it, to discover what adventures they had in store for me.
Thank-you Marge for reminding me it's good for the attitude and the creativity to shake up the old routine every once in a while. But could we at least sleep until seven tomorrow?
Happy reading and writing!