I step out onto the front covered porch. Arthur pulls on the lead in my hand. I am warm enough in my pajamas and robe on this mild winter morning.
Arthur stops at the edge of the porch. I always think he sees, hears, or smells another animal when he does that. Maybe he’s just being sure.
I look around also. It is dark, but my eyes adjust and I can see the silhouette of the branching arms of the locust tree. Four porch lights glow across the front of the vacant house to my left around the bend of the lane. Straight ahead a series of small bright lights from the homes on a neighboring street shine through the winter woods barren of leaves. I’ll not see those lights come spring. The new neighbors’ house to the right, at the corner, is brightly lit on both the back and the left side that are visible from where I stand, perhaps to discourage burglars. I wonder if our motion-detector security lights around back where it’s near the woods still work. The new neighbors’ strand of Christmas lights sparkle across their back porch rail.
Arthur tugs and pulls on the retractable dog leash as he steps off the porch and meanders through the foliage in the landscaping that stretches across the front of the house and along the bend of the sidewalk to the tree.
I notice a drip, drip, drip from the rain spout to my left. Otherwise I hear nothing except the steady drone of distant traffic. The juvenile owl, with its awkward squawk must not be visiting this morning. Ah, now the soft whistle of a train miles away breaks the silence.
Arthur is taking his time.
The sky is beginning to lighten to a dark gray-blue, as the place where I stand, on this glorious planet we call home, turns towards the sun and the dawn of a new day.