The river bottom at the crack of dawn

At dawn the river bottom looks cold, dark, foreboding, like a bog—the moon shining ominous above. I leash Chico in case there are coyotes, wild beasts lurking. Set my  jar of carrot, cucumber, and apple juice on a high boulder and then get mad at Honey as she takes a flying leap to the top and almost knocks over my precious juice.

A half hour later the landscape is lit up, the light moon circle fading and floating away in the blue sky above. The river bottom is like a valley unto itself, surrounded by layers of low and high mountains. When I look around upside down, the sky looks like a frothy white-wave ocean, the white moon sinking to the bottom.

Out here in nature, Nubio, the black neighbor dog, looks more and more wolf-like. He is so calm compared to Honey, who never stops moving till she collapses from exhaustion, tongue hanging out, anxious to recover so she can run some more. We wander deep into the cracked black-grey creek bed, clambering over stones. I find a boulder to sit on—if I sit on the ground the dogs will lick my glasses and think it’s time to play. After a while the dogs settle down, my view of the landscape shifts, and I notice more details of each individual plant. I see that I’m sitting in the midst of a cluster of cattails, the fuzzy brown tips not much darker than the sunburnt stalks.

On the way home, the somber dark landscape that greeted me is now totally transformed. There is a sunlit clearing that just beckons you to dance. . .

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