After nearly two weeks of rain and snow and impossibly Seattle-esque weather, weeks of Duncan moping in the window or pouting at my feet, whining to be taken out to chase the wet little mounds of baby bunnies, this day dawned perfectly, with a sunrise of sherbet oranges and faded blueberry blues.
I awoke shortly before six and everyone––the cats cuddled around me, Duncan at the foot of the bed wrapped in the blanket mom made him for Christmas, and me, especially––was surprised when I didn't roll back over, pull the pillow over my head and sleep for another hour or two. I climbed out of bed, got dressed and had served everyone breakfast before the rest of them joined me. I was standing at the door with the leash waiting for Roo to amble down the hall long before he figured out that I was serious about walking. He was slow and stretchy, pausing for some morning Downward Dog yoga twice before he was ready, and waited patiently for me to attach his leash, a rarity as he usually chirps and dances impatiently around me.
The morning was bright and rather than meander around our complex, as we usually do, we took our time crossing the street to venture into the park, which was entirely ours at that hour. None of the joggers or soccer hoards were out so I took him off leash and let him amble beside me. He was still sleepy and didn't dart ahead but stayed at my side despite my encouragement to run far and wide while he could. The park was lovely in its silence, welcoming and barely awake. The week's rain and snow and terrible winds had shaken the blossoms from the trees and the tiny white petals were scattered across the ground like a dusting of snow. Duncan finally woke up and galloped through them, rolling in them and collecting them in his fur. Then he'd jump up again, shake them free and run away again, pausing every now and then to wait for me, sighing as I took my time, kicking the dew from the blades of grass as I passed.
Only three hours later, after I'd finished the laundry and done the grocery shopping we went out again, walking the length of the property, stopping to let the strolling families, fresh from their breakfasts, pet him, the small children smiling wide as they patted his back, repeating, "Gog" while their parents said, "Yes, nice dog." Duncan didn't mind but stood patiently, his tongue, big and pink and fat on the end, lolling out of his mouth.
At three, after a brief visit from Ken, we ventured back to the park to throw the ball. The families had gathered again, this time for barbecues and Frisbee tosses. I settled down in the grass and watched an ant crawl up the length of my leg, tumbling from hair to hair, before finally reaching my shorts and then the vast white expanse of my t-shirt. Duncan rolled back and forth, kicking his legs up as though sprinting across the sky, where a white crab cloud morphed into a dancing rotisserie chicken, the claws changing slowly into funny little naked wings.
An hour later we ventured down to the pool to sit with Monica and Jimmy and Brady, who'd been there for hours, sunning themselves and taking dips in the surprisingly warm water. I'd made myself a drink, a vodka with blueberry pomegranate juice, and lounged on the deck chairs while Duncan and Roxie, Brady's dog, chased a tennis ball. Monica tossed the ball in the pool, which was too much for Roxie, who talks a tough talk but can't manage to walk it, but Duncan, with only a little coaxing, soon found himself paddling back and forth after it. He had trouble navigating the stairs but once he managed to figure them out he was fine. His first swim of the season. Soon we'll be spending our weekends at Chatfield splashing in the river.
After a short nap we ventured out at the moment when the sun had finally slipped below the horizon. The sky had softened and changed from faded blueberry to washed denim, and the moon, with bright Venus sitting just below her at four o'clock, was brilliant before us. The day had cooled and the heavy smells of evening were wafting all around us: cut grass, burgers and chicken on the grill, fabric softener blowing from the drier vents. Roo, finally dry, if not a bit fluffier than usual, trotted beside me, sniffing the edges of the low shrubs and peering deep within them for a sight of the bunnies, which only a few weeks ago were smaller than and nearly as trusting as kittens.
We will both sleep well tonight, me especially because I know this was a day for Duncan, who has been patiently waiting for the clouds to pass and the sun to shine bright in his face.