It was 3:00 in the morning. I was standing on a stranger’s lawn about a quarter mile from my home. I was wearing a tee-shirt, boxer shorts and no shoes. The air was chilly. It’s late October in New England and the leaves have turned, though I cannot see their colors in the darkness that surrounds me. The grass was wet with dew. The stars twinkled in a moonless sky.
My dog awoke me, which is unusual. I brought her downstairs and attached her leash. I thought we would be making a brief excursion onto the front lawn. I didn’t bother to put on anything other than what I had worn to bed.
My dog had other ideas. She took a right after hopping off the stoop and pulled me toward the neighbor’s lawn. “Fine,” I thought. “A few extra steps won’t kill me, and it’s 3:00 in the morning. No one is going to see me in out here in my underwear.”
My neighbor’s lawn became my neighbor’s neighbor’s lawn, and before I knew it, we had turned the corner at the end of street and were making our way around the block.
I should’ve gone back for shoes and pants, but I was tired and annoyed. I was almost mindless in my movements.
Fifteen minutes later I was farther away from my home in my underwear than than I could have ever imagined. My feet were cold and wet and my dog was dawdling, in no great rush to return home. A car drove by, its headlights illuminating my underwear-clad frame.
I tugged on the leash. My dog would not budge. My annoyance was verging on anger when I looked up into the sky, saw the stars above my head, and realized how lucky I was.
There will come a day when I can no longer walk around the block in my bare feet with my dog.
There will come a day when I will yearn for the cool, wet grass between my toes.
Regardless of the hour or location or temperature or paisley design on my boxer shorts. I was here, alone with my dog, surrounded by the quiet of the witching hour.
I would return to bed soon enough. For now, I decided, I should relish the moment. Take it in as best as I could.
Days are short. Years are shorter. Lifetimes are but blinks of an eye. An early morning jaunt on a crisp, fall morning is something to be embraced.
I decided to do just that.