• One Minnesota Writer

Old dogs, sleepless nights, early mornings, summer



my favorite petunias catching some sun

I’ve been a morning person for a long time. I’m at my best before noon, energetic, creative, ready to do all kinds of things. Later in the day, I’m far more inclined to pour a glass of wine and putter around in the kitchen, have a relaxed dinner, plunk down on the couch, avoid anything that even vaguely resembles multi-tasking.

Yesterday morning was an exception. After a night of tossing, turning, and looking at the clock every half hour, I was finally asleep when the dog woke us up at 4:50 a.m. Truffles is old. She wakes at first light, which is considerably early in the summer. I caught her by the collar and unceremoniously dumped her back in her dog bed, which is right beside our bed. She snuffled for a moment, plopped her head down, sighed and closed her eyes. Lucky dog. I did not go back to sleep. My partner Mick got up as usual somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m.. Truffles snoozed for one more hour, got back up, didn’t quite make it all the way outside. At least she did make it to the front door where there is tile that is easy to clean up.



Truffles the old lady doxie

So, I was crabby. Tired. My whole body felt off. And it was cold in the house - the above-90-degree temperatures we had just the week before last gave way to an overnight low of 48 in our backyard. And Truffles had the audacity to behave as if she’d not made a big mess to kick off our day.

In the throes of my crabbiness and general discomfort, I plunked down on the couch hours earlier than usual, and brought along my stack of journals, a haiku book I acquired recently (The Essential Haiku edited by Robert Hass), turned on a morning news show, and drank coffee, which didn’t perk me up as much as most mornings. By 10:30 a.m., it had warmed up to 65 degrees, the sun was out, and Truffles made it all the way out the door to her spot the next time she needed to go out. Things were looking up.

As my crabbiness ebbed, I remembered the technique I used on my daughter when she was gnarly as a middle-schooler. I made her write in a gratitude journal, which she hated and which she still (at 26) swears didn’t help. She remembers it, so my theory is something stuck. While I didn’t haul out my own gratitude journal, I did think about what had gone right over the previous couple of days and what I can look forward to this week: the great Father’s Day Mick and I shared with our kids, Monday night’s dinner with friends, mid-week time with my granddaughter, more friends over for a camping-trip-planning happy hour on Friday. I looked at little old Truffles in her dog bed, nearly-white snout hanging out over the edge, eyes slightly open as she snored. Life is really pretty good right now, with our vaccinated selves able to do more things than a year ago. And summer mornings are wonderful - is it really so surprising that Truffles wants to go outside as soon as the first pale light appears? Maybe she understands far more about living in the moment than I ever will. And, apparently, she knows the value of napping at any time of the day no matter how much she slept overnight. I suppose I could take a hint.


All summer morning images by kcmickelson 2021.


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