And so as Autumn comes on, as the nightly winds rattle and shake the leaves and needles from the trees, pulling their colors from the boughs and littering the ground with them, our morning walks have changed, too. Flip flops and t-shirts have been replaced with good, solid walking shoes, and jackets, sometimes even gloves. The frost crunches beneath our feet as we plod along, Duncan jogging ahead, his warm, little imprints a trail for me to follow along the hedges and fence line. Jeffrey's cats are no longer granted free reign and his patio door is closed, leaving Duncan confused by his absence. Jeffrey has been there waiting for him nearly every morning for the past five months, a handful of treats, a herd of squirrels eating the nuts he has scattered, the jays squawking in the ash tree above. Dunc waits for a minute, his paws propped up on the rail, his tail swishing softly back and forth until he realizes Jeffrey is not coming. He'll sniff around a bit, search out the nuts, and then amble along. It is sometimes difficult for me not to project my own feelings onto him, not to feel disappointed at this change in his routine, but Roo is quick to bound away, his ambling through the leaves making music for me to follow. There is much for him to investigate: the branches that have come down in the previous night's gale, the golden pile of leaves that have gathered around the trunks of the aspens, the silence of the golf course.
It is a beautiful time of year to be walking early in the morning, when the sun is still new and the air is crisp. I could not count the number of such mornings I missed before he entered my life and am thankful each day for the ones his presence has granted me.
An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. (Henry David Thoreau)