dark morning...

it is a dark morning...
but I guess most mornings start this way

at 6:01 my alarm goes off
it is the gentle ring of my iPhone... it sounds like a phone ringing
but I know it is the alarm on my Smart Phone
I get out of bed and walk over to my dresser and slide the bar on the touch screen to turn off the ringing

my  body hurts
my legs are tight and my back is sore
I am lured back to my bed
yet I fight the impulse to hug the pillow for another second
as I do not have another second

it is pretty standard for my Lurch-like body to be stiff in the morning
like a Zombie I march with stiff legs for the bathroom
I brush my teeth as I stand and pee into the toilet
out the bathroom window I see darkness

in an effort to be more efficient I multi-task
spit... rinse... brush... spit... rinse... flush
back into the bedroom I pet the dog
our moderately aloof cat-like dog is most affectionate when he wakes from slumber
not trying to stir him I rub his belly

the little Australian Cattle Dog mix gets long and lean as I rub his belly
a smile-like expression comes across his face as I rub his belly
my touch is not so aggressive that I fully wake our family dog, Didg
no... I allow Didg a few more minutes to sleep
Didg is clearly enjoying his last moments before he has to wake and start his day

downstairs I greet my wife Lisa...
Lisa had woken to go to her early morning boot-camp session but was at the dinning room table with her iPad instead
She bowed out of the morning routine due to the threat of rain
Lisa is confident that it is going to start raining any minute

clothing on... coffee in hand I grab the leash and walk up the stairs
gently I call the dog
in the dark bedroom I see the silhouette of the dog rise and then collapse
oh... I know the feeling
he just wants one more minute of sleep
I also want one more minute of sleep

another call
another command... this time a little louder and a little more firm
something more than a gentle suggestion
but not exactly the call from a drill sergeant 
although drill sergeant is my default setting

on his feet Didg comes prancing my way
almost smiling... anthropomorphizing as it may be... I like to see my dog smile
head low with a glance showing some sort of dog affection
I sit at the top stair and wait for my dog to come to my side for another belly rub

a pat on the butt
a kiss to the head
a rub of the belly
and a snap of the leash to the collar
I question if the dog feels the emotion of the kiss
wondering if the kiss to the head is for me or for him
I know it is for me... clearly I enjoy it more than he does

we walk down the stairs
my coffee is by the front door

I open the door and step outside
it is darker this morning than it usually is at this time of day

the sky lacks any sign of yesterday's moon or last night's stars
today's sun is no where in sight

Didg takes to his perch on the brick wall along side of the steps
we are already a few minutes behind schedule so I call for him to move
we start our way across the street
already a few stages into our morning routine

in the woods of Rock Creek Park it is completely dark
the tree canopy blocks out any light that the morning has to offer
still in Zombie mode I march forward
guessing my way on the wooded trail that I have walked more times than I could calculate

the dog remains on the leash
we are a few minutes behind schedule and I want to try to knock out a few steps before he starts sniffing and wandering off
the trail dips down by the road and then back into the woods
once on the terraced stairs that I made years ago I unleash the hound

the darkness keeps my young dog at my side
as we start in on this part of the woods we have a little more light
the placement on the hill and the thinner trees offer for more light
also being five minutes later in the morning it is already getting brighter

it is quiet... well, not entirely so
there is the mellow background noise that is the chorus of insects
the slightly louder and more intermittent is the sound of birds
more prominent and more frequent is the sound of cars whooshing by on the parkway that flanks the trail
all these things are there... they can be heard or go unheard... depending on your focus

the coffee in my hand is being ingested but has yet to wake my sleepy head
forward and further we march on our short morning hike

intent on being at work on time I give a hoot and a whistle for Didg to stay by me
not monitoring his behavior I hope that he has taken advantage of his moments out of sight to take care if business
trying not to rush him I try to knock out this short 15-20 minute loop

Didg is doing some sniffing, but it is time for us to go
I call him... Didg moves at his own rate
I am trying to learn to accept his rate of return
I call again... he is working his way back
his return is not as rapid as I would like
but he is back and he is on the leash
we walk the final steps out of the woods for home together

out of the woods and back onto the sidewalk I can see that we are not the only animals awake at this time of day
a car ahead runs the Red Turn Arrow
a jogger makes his way down into the park
down the block a neighbor gets into their car... their morning routine has started as well

back home the dog is off leash
there is no time for anything other than grabbing my backpack and getting on the bike and heading into work
Didg follows me out the back door
the gate between our yard and the neighbor's yard is open... I move forward to close it
the neighbor is about to walk his dog Karma
although Didg and Karma are best of friends... I do not have time to let them play this morning
need to start pedaling my way into work

since I did a solid road ride yesterday
on this day I will ride my single speed with its flat pedals
the course of this day will not have any more riding than the short fast 10-15 minutes into work and then the short fast 10-15 minutes home from work
too much to do to do anything else

on the bike I push the pedals to power my bicycle through the neighborhood
the suspension seat post makes a rhythmic squeak along with the grinding sound coming from the rear hub
this bike is not riding its best
the front shock is ineffective... locked down
the rear wheel has a hub that is tragically lose
in short... this bike needs more than TLC... it needs to be rebuilt

but that is not the concern of the morning
a few blocks of pedaling in between historic houses and I am on Mount Pleasant Main Street
activity is already starting on this quiet main street
the 7-11 already has a pack of immigrants crowded out front
joggers starting and finishing their morning runs on the brick sidewalks on each side of the streets
commuters in cars, on bike, and at the bus stops are already well into their morning routine just like myself

the Karate Monkey Single Speed that I am riding is under geared
the gear I am pushing is easier than I would ride in the woods
it is really a cruising gear
yet I try to push it
I over spin it... giving me a decent elevated heart rate for such short ride at such a slow speed

raised heart rate is not my goal
getting into work on time is

it is pretty much all down hill from my home to work
there is not much traffic and the lights are pretty much in my favor
a few blocks from work and I hear the audible beep of my watch marking the top of the hour
it is 7AM... I am going to be 2 minutes late
lucky for me I am not in the army... 2 minutes late should be no issue

at work I arrive to a quiet office and a light work load
so I take a minute to drink another cup off coffee as I check phone messages and emails

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