By Jennifer Archer On Oct 10 2012, 9:00 am
My son is in the middle of a move, and I’m keeping his new pup Robespierre. (According to my son, Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was an influential figure in the French Revolution. The puppy is a Boston Terrier. I know…I don’t get it, either.) Anyway, keeping Robespierre is reminding me of the days when my cranky-old-lady dog, Marge, was a puppy and turning this former night owl into a reluctant morning person.
Marge as a pup
One spring morning when Marge was young stands out in my mind. While walking with her at 6:45 a.m., I blinked sleep from my eyes and admitted to myself that there’s something special about strolling around the neighborhood when the only sounds are twittering birds, the paper boy’s rumbling truck, and a breeze rustling the trees that seems to whisper hush each time one of my feet strikes the sidewalk. Each morning back then, Marge seemed to want to get up and out a little earlier. She shook up my routine in more ways than one.
For instance, on that particular spring morning that I’ve never forgotten, she insisted on turning left to cut across the park rather than walking our usual route around it. Marge, who normally pranced happily along at my side, strained at the leash a bit when she spotted the school playground. Since nobody was out for her to bother, I gave her some slack. A lot of slack. The closer we came to the swings and slide and merry-go-round, the faster she trotted until, finally, she ran, splashing through rain puddles, darting toward fallen leaves, one ear flopped back, tail wagging. I wondered if she’d caught the scent of all the children who played there, day in, day out, and they smelled like FUN! This was a place to explore.
Since I wasn’t normally outside at such an early hour, I noticed things I missed on my usual later-in-the-day excursions: the morning mist on my skin, dew on roses, a pretty white-haired elderly woman who lives down the street. I had never seen her before, but she was out to pick up her paper and we said “hello” to each other.
When Marge and I made it home a half hour later, I wasn’t the least bit sleepy anymore. I only required one cup of coffee to kick my brain into gear instead of my usual two. As I made my way to the computer and my story-in-progress, I felt like Marge must’ve felt as she bounded toward the playground. For the first time in a long while, the writing ahead of me smelled like fun rather than work. I couldn’t wait to enter the world of my characters, to explore it, to discover what adventures they had in store for me.
Thank-you Marge (and Robespierre) for reminding me it’s good for my attitude and my creativity to shake up the old routine every once in a while. But couldn’t we at least sleep until seven?