Early Morning

Last update:  27 September 2013


23 September 2013


He exits the cave, stands still for a time, then glances behind him.  This hole in the hillside has been "home" for some two and a half months now; short on luxury, but high on remoteness and solitude.  That suited him fine.  He faces front.  About 100 meters away is the stream, which gave him the occasional fish to supplement the herbs and berries he gathered in the surrounding foliage.

He takes a slow, deep breath, just as slowly exhales ... and smiles -- something he's not done much since living here.  Yes ... lay it down.  Get busy living again.

He looks to the sky.  The dawn advances, gradually changes the color of the heavens from deepest blue to cyan and then, the first touches of gold as the sun peaks over the eastern mountains.  He slowly sweeps his gaze around, takes in the hills, rocks, trees, stream ... and stops.  Something on the far bank, alive and watching him; too far to know that with his eyes, but still he knows it with the certainty we all feel in such moments.  He is unafraid -- simply curious.  He cocks his head to the side and then puts one foot in front of the other in the direction of the stream.  Soon, he no longer walks, but jogs; he doesn't know why -- only that he feels a strange sense of anticipation and the need to close the distance sooner.  20 meters away, he stops.  He clearly sees it now -- green, quadruped, sits on rear legs, nose twitches, stares back at him with big, expressive eyes filled with ... nervous tension and ... hope?  It doesn't move, simply waits, watching him.

His lips part, mouth hangs open, eyes narrow ... he smiles suddenly, gasps at the same time, eyes mist up, the sap blurs his sight.  Then he runs into the stream, legs splash and churn the knee-deep water.  The creature bounds into the water toward him, half runs and half swims.  They meet in the middle and, with a final leap, it's in his arms.  He hugs it tight, turning around and around in the water, laughing and sobbing at the same time.

And Ruff the fern hound, having never been held tighter in his life, emits a series of whines and squeaks ... happy ones.