Every Good Morning

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I can stand at one spot on our road, look to the north and see five ridges, one after another, their rising lines seeming to originate in a single gap. On clear mornings that vista carries such a promise of space and openness. Looking out across those miles yesterday morning, I saw that the swallows that rest on the electric lines over the pasture all summer seem to have left for the year. For a moment I imagine them over the Gulf, driving relentlessly toward South America. In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Annie Dillard calls it Zugunruhe, the necessity to move, the uncontrollable restlessness of migration. The change is coming. I feel it.

That afternoon, Stella, a 10 month old Great Dane, loped up and down our yard at the end of a 10 foot rope I held in my gloved hand. Wolfie circled and circled, approached, sniffed, circled again, intrigued, I think, by this creature that sure smelled like dog but was so much bigger than any he had come across.

Occasionally I would stop her, set my hand on her rump and command her to sit. Her sitting head rose to my bended chest. She is up for adoption. I bet that she could be had for a pittance. If we had an acre fenced in…. If I wanted to spend most waking moments dog obsessed…. No. Such a sweet girl and already responding to my voice. No. My wife says why not and a dozen reasons cross my mind. Who does not want to save every living creature sometimes?

Earlier this same day I had fed and watered two horses, Buddy, a robust Haflinger, busty and blond and meant for pulling, and Mo, my favorite, a  big black thoroughbred, 26 years old with a sculptured, noble head. He is patient and sweet tempered. He likes my soft voice. When I am alone with him, I babble on and on, and when I am maneuvering around him, I lightly touch his flanks and sides to let him know where I am. He tolerates me. I am pleased just to touch him.

© Mike Wall

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