It’s early and I’m the first one up in the house. It’s completely dark outside and quiet inside. My feet are cold on the wooden floor in spite of my woolen socks because I turn the heat off at night. With the children snuggled under down comforters and my husband snuggled up next to me, there’s no need for extra heat through the night. I’ll turn it on just before they stagger out to the kitchen for breakfast. By then the room will be warm from the oven where I have huckleberry scones baking. I love that we have frozen huckleberries stashed in the freezer to be resurrected during the deep winter. They are like small bursts of summer sunshine during the darkest part of the year. We never seem to pick enough.
I can hear my husband moving around in the back of the house. He’s pulling on his winter gear so he can walk the quarter mile down our drive in the snow to get the newspaper. Our golden retriever puppy quivers in her kennel. She knows she’ll get to go too. She spends most of her time outside with her nose to the ground, regardless of the snow, to get a whiff of the wildness. I grind the java beans and start the coffee pot ready for a stout cup of steaming hot PEETS. NPR is playing quietly on the radio that lives on top of our refrigerator. My mountain boy husband appears with his wool hat jammed on his head; his hiking boots laced up and ready for action. He is a morning person and his eyes just sparkle as he frees the dog from her kennel cave. Where I have to get up this early out of necessity, he gets up because he loves it. Even a walk in the snow and darkness at this hour is an adventure. They head out together into the cold. I watch them from the kitchen window until I can’t make out their forms; the red puppy darting here and there alternating between dancing around my husband’s feet and nose to the ground smelling something wonderful that only she can sense. I have so much to do today: chickens to doctor, animals to feed, lunches to make, clothes to fold. But all that can wait for the moment. I’m going to sip my coffee and gaze out the window and wait for the adventurers to return in the predawn light.