As much as I dislike waking up for no apparent reason at four in the morning, there is something nice about pulling on some sweats and taking Duncan outside in the quiet dark, when the moon has neared the end of her slide across the sky and the sprinklers at the park are chick-a-chick-a-chicking across the grass. Dunc has that dazed look about him, like a child a parent must pull carefully off the couch and carry down the hall to bed, holding the small body carefully, arms and legs splayed akimbo, tiny head resting against a warm, familiar-smelling shoulder. He has an awake but still dreaming look, with tousled hair and bleary eyes. He is at his gentlest in the morning, and so gentle at 4:30 that for once he can't keep up with me as I lead him through the parking lot and across the street to enjoy the deep silence of Littleton in the early hours. And when I drop his leash and let him walk, he doesn't. He steps a few feet away and leans into his Little Job, body taut and tail straight out, his head craned forward and the light of the nearly full moon sparkling off the diamond water droplets that have moved from the blades of grass to collect on the tip of his nose. When he has finished he does not trot away but sidles up to me and runs his body across my calf, like a cat, then turns and looks back toward home, where the bed is cool with the blankets pulled back to reveal the sweet-smelling, fresh sheets. That's where he wants to be, curled up across Ken's pillow while he is in Michigan, and that's where I suppose I want to be too, although it would be nice to have Little Man here beside me, Duncan spread out between us, the cats perched all around. I have a feeling I wouldn't have been up if that were the case. But crossing the street again is nice for I can hear the soft patter of his feet on the cement, the gentle chink of his leash and collar, and I wonder if he will remember this moon in the morning or if he will think it was a dream of a late-night stroll, just the two of us and the heavy breathing sounds of nothing at all.