Morning walk is always a marvel. That it happens everyday does not dull the mixed sense of contentment and pleasure I find within the familiar ritual of its routine in my life.

First there is the dog, Bentley. Typically he wakes and stirs as I wake and stir. Sometimes he bounds awake ahead of me and I am groggy and met by his pleadings to get up.  He will even tap at my shoulder with his front paws to inflict an unavoidable urgency if I am lagging too far behind.  But today we are in synch, and he patiently waits as I put on my robe and step into my shoes, leash him safely, and carefully descend the stairs. The cat is waiting in the front entry way and meows expectantly.

Off the three of us go together, with the cat stepping out first and bounding far ahead to the culvert by the side of the road. It is absolutely her favorite place and I always imagine that it is filled with tiny tadpoles and single celled creatures that she partakes in the flow of the water of its protective cover. She dips her paw multiple times but eventually leans in to drink as well, remaining there a while before rejoining our meanderings.

Our path varies by my willingness to follow the dog’s lead or resist.   The choices include a lakefront across the street or a variety of edged flowerbeds within our own yard.  Today Bentley is inclined to stop and look, rather than bound or pull. The lake sprinkler fountain is his interest because it is creating a small fluffy cloud that climbs to the height of the trees along the far edge of the lake.  I have been on this walk hundreds of times, but I have never seen a cloud formation there before.

Eventually I guide Bentley to the garage side garden. This is where my oldest and favorite plantings of bushes and perennials are located. Two large English Rose Rhododendron and a smaller deep red Rhododendron bush grows alongside a variegated pink Weigela. Across the grass near the fence several plantings are in bud: Japanese Iris, varieties of Columbine and Peony, summer flowers that are sprouting and beginning to spire and a white-laced Viburnum .

In the side yard the cat stops again to drink water from a large round concrete birdbath that I salvaged from one of my neighbor’s trashday offerings. It is one of my favorite yard spots, because it offers the dog and cat plenty of fresh water.   We slowly wind down the long hill behind the house to the woodline on the far side yard close to where it adjoins our community’s nature and wildlife reserve.

When Bentley has completed all of his desired explorations we finally meander back up the hill to the front yard. What is noticeable to me this morning are the repeated row edgings of the freshly mowed grass.

My roommate James worked hard on it just yesterday. He provides mowing and supportive care of the yard since he moved in over a year ago. I am so very thankful to him. Before Mother’s Day last week he also helped me power wash the back yard wooden deck and a concrete porch underneath in preparation for a gathering of my extended family.

They were coming for a rare holiday visit to my home and I am so very grateful. We were making preparations for the first visit to my home of my youngest son’s family after the birth of my now seven month old granddaughter.  I still revel in my joy in having extended family time together…though I was so occupied in my excitement with visiting grandchildren that I have only one posting photo taken that day.

I sigh as I think about my multitude of blessings and especially for the miracle of our precious  new grandchild.

It is time to go inside and feed AnneMarie the cat.  She is almost twenty years old.  I must carefully hold back Bentley on his leash so he will not crowd her too close as she slowly winds her way up to her feeding dish in the kitchen.

Finally, Bentley takes his chew treat and happily bounds head back up the stairs again. All is well this beautiful and sunlit morning.