We dog people are lucky. Yes, for all the things you’re listing in your head right now. But also for one more mundane but equally valuable reason: our internal alarm clocks ring earlier than most.
Sometimes, it’s our dogs that trumpet the wake-up call, rattling in their crates, stirring in anticipation of the adventure to come. Yes, even on “off” days (which dogs don’t quite buy into), they get out early here to train before oven-like temperatures shorten their run. That’s fine with me … it’s the most magical time of day, full of sights and sounds that vanish with the rising sun.
Our early morning runs are cool and quiet, with trails undisturbed by other people. Listen carefully for a distant honk from Canada geese, a coyote yip before he hunkers down for the day. We seldom hear a man-made noise on the first runs of the day.
But morning is primarily a visual feast, from ground level to distant horizons. From the high spots behind our place, clean, still air reveals vistas reaching to state borders east and south. Later in the day dust, smoke and the heated atmosphere itself obscure our view. Often, I find my dog by the cloud of his breath, not a collar tag jingling or beeper disturbing our reverie. Startled from a roost, the tiny wingbeats of a junco thunder like a ringneck’s.
Our still-bleary eyes are the most active sensors as the orange sun crests a ridge in the early morning. The moondust of trails reflects the previous night’s dramas: a beetle plows a furrow, the tracery of field mice feet on a mission. An eerily human print … raccoon? Wood rats’ delicate lobed footprints meander for yards before vectoring into the brush. Even a lug-soled boot’s faceted impression sings to the walker, adventurer, and curious observer that a dog guy becomes every time a glow appears in the east.