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My Dog and I Are Creatures of Habit

Life on the Bay Can Be Exhausting

I rise early even on weekends, continuing the habit of a lifetime, look out and see the civil twilight and the promise of the sun. Over the flat water, dark blue now, like a sheet of glass, wisps of dark clouds with a hint of pink on the horizon in a sky of light blue. The day is already alive with morning sounds, distant traffic. Gulls cry from afar, geese honk as they fly over, a tern drifts by, Bay ducks leave their traces on the water surface like a flotilla, and a common loon emerges from the deep like a submarine, as if all were showing the day they are still alive. All the while sea gulls, ever the opportunists, lurk nearby.
    I walk out to the pier accompanied by a chocolate Lab. She is carrying her tennis ball. As I dip the oyster cages to rid them of silt, she is interested in the oyster spat hanging from the boards. She runs through the garden, making birds fly away or the otters scat on the pier. But she is thinking more about breakfast than anything else, a creature of habit and ritual. She is not interested in the glorious day that is being born, the fading last star, the first streaks of sunlight, the cloud formation, the orange or golden glow from the pre-dawn sun, the beauty of nature, even if she herself is part of it. She is just in the moment.
    I am thinking of coffee, morning paper, some alone time before my wife Beth wakes up, perhaps an early morning soccer game on TV, a walk later along the promenade.
    Kahvi is thinking let’s play ball, again, again, and when I am no longer interested, you will give me my breakfast so I can take a nap. Being a dog on the Bay is exhausting and I have not had my swim yet.
    Breakfast and she is back in bed snuggled into my departed place. I steal down to the tiki bar to have my coffee in peace, looking at the developing morning and the enveloping scene surrounding me. It is exhausting on the Bay, but I cannot nap, at least not today.

Michael White is a retired architect, originally from Ireland now living in Chesapeake Beach. He started writing as a teenager, returning to poetry and short-story writing while attending the Renaissance Institute at Notre Dame of Maryland University this spring.