It's dusk and it's the first time in awhile I have this deep happy swelling in my insides. Chloe trots along, little tail flipping left and right, her bald patch not bothered by the flurries twisting in the air. Orion springs ahead, a wound dog wishing to be set free to sprint along the sidewalk rather than patiently stepping one foot in front of the other. Snow is melting despite the light flakes falling in the air, and I have never been so happy to see mud in my life. I proudly stomp through it, celebrating the sign of spring. I listen to the bustle of downtown traffic and think about how much I miss the ground beneath my feet but how happy I am to be putting down roots in this place, this place where friends invite me to be a part of their community, coffee shop owners tell me when they're going to Aruba so I won't worry when they aren't there to wave to in the morning dog walk...and my apartment with it's purple curtains and wood floors.
We round the corner and Orion's control bursts. Suddenly Chloe and I are in a jog, a run, down the sidewalk... my singing ceases for the moment, as I call ahead, "Orion! I'm sadly too old for this! I'm nearly thirty Orion!" And then I start to giggle. Almost thirty?
"But Mom the night is lovely, and we're out for a walk, how about a nice job instead. Hold tight to those mittens!" I say out loud, as Orion's voice carrying back to Chloe and I... and then I start into song, again, "Here I am a happy yellow dog with my best friend scruffy Chloe, and best friend human Molly and we're walking down the sidewalk..."
It's a wonder the record company hasn't called.
We pass the house with the dinosaur in the garden, and I think of the little boy with blue eyes pretending he was big enough to shovel, telling me about something in his little boy language during Nemo the snow storm, and the parents, with their foreign languages, and the odd baby face in a plastic flower attached to their fence post that scared the bejesus out of me the first time I saw it.
I love neighbors. And I think of Zachary, my nine-year-old buddy and how I should give him call...and my old friend, who's name's escaping me for the moment, Herb, who use to walk his tiny dog everyday and tell me not to get married...