Morning walk is always a marvel. That it happens everyday does not dull the mixed sense of contentment  and excitement I find as I follow along 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 were in synch, and he patiently waited as I put on my robe and stepped into my shoes, leash him safely, and carefully descend the stairs. The cat was 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 that collects in its protective cover. She dips her paw multiple times but eventually leans in to drink as well, always 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 was inclined to stop and look, rather than bound or pull. The sprinkler fountain is his interest because it is creating a mist that smokily arises even to the height of the trees along the far edge of the lake.  Even though I have been on this walk for several years, I have never seen it mist like this before.

Eventually I guide Bentley to the garage side garden. This is the area of the yard where my oldest and favorite plantings of bushes and perennials are located. Two large English Rose (Roseum Elegans) Rhododendron and a smaller bush of large deep red (‘Nova Zembla’)that grow alongside a variegated pink Weigela. Across the grass near the fence several plantings are in bud now: Japanese Iris, varieties of Columbine and Peony, summer flowers that are just beginning to sprout or spire, and a tall white Shasta Viburnum.

The cat stops again to methodically drink 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 in fresh water.   We head down the long hill behind the house and finally over near the woodline on the far side yard that adjoins a community nature and wildlife reserve.

So we are done and take a meandering walk back up the hill to the front yard. What is noticeable this morning are the repeated edgings in the freshly mowed grass.

My roommate James mowed just yesterday. He has been providing regular 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 helped me power wash the  back yard wooden deck and a concrete porch underneath.

My family extended was coming for a rare holiday visit to my home and I was so very grateful. We were trying to get it ready for the first visit to my home by my youngest son’s family after the birth of my seven month old granddaughter.

I am still reveling in the joy of our extended family’s holiday time together.  Few pictures were taken because I was completely occupied in the excitement of grandchildren, my sons and their families.

I have so many reasons to be thankful, grateful, and filled with wonder for multiple blessings and the miracle of life itself.

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

Bentley happily takes his chew treat as we head back up the stairs again. All is well.