On Being Coerced into Beauty

On Being Coerced into Beauty

Gina, shadows

First the insistent nudge, then the turn to see the LED numerals on the clock. “What!?” grumpily. “Gina has to go out.” “*%#^! It’s a quarter to five!” “Do you want me to take her out?” “No, damnit! I’ll do it!”

Still a bit dazed from sleep, fumbling into something warm, groggily stumbling down the stairs, Gina happily following behind me, I soon found myself outside in a chilly predawn morning, the peaks at the end of the valley with the recent snows outlined by the approaching sunrise. We crossed the quiet road, the valley floor so dark that I almost missed the dozen or more elk right up against the fence. Gina the Dog an equally dark shadow at my side, never made a move toward the herd. For their part, only one young cow bolted a bit, the rest of the band moved slowly away from the fence, an indistinct darker blob, mainly apparent by the occasional snort, and a faint warble in the background.

As the light came up over the peaks, the sky turned a very pale blue and Gina and I backed away to give the elk some room, and stood for another 15 minutes, just listening to the quiet, and watching our beautiful valley come into view.

A half hour earlier, I would have happily just turned over and gone back to sleep, and missed the moment.

Back in the house, I quietly got back into bed, softly kissed the neck of my slumbering wife: “Thanks.”


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