I am walking with Amabel in the morning, before breakfast. Ellen likes to sleep in; and we like to go out early and greet the day.
First we let the chickens out. We extract a couple of broody hens from the egg boxes and dump the bucket of kitchen scraps. Then we walk along the edge of the driveway and watch a killdeer mother and two babies. Another killdeer appears and pretends her wing is injured — hopping and trying to lead us away from her nest. But we do not follow her. We turn right onto our favorite trail, picking wildflowers as we go.
It is different without Harry. We both notice his absence. He doesn’t bark at the chickens and tease the neighbor’s dogs. He doesn’t bound back and forth between us, encouraging us along. He doesn’t wag his tail and look at us with laughing eyes. We talk about him. It helps.
Amabel collects flowers and notices a patch of delicate fern-like moss covered in drops of dew. We see a vine overhead, hanging on a dead tree. Then she shows me a fairy house she and Ellen built in an old stump. We pick a goat’s beard puff for Wallace to clutch in his little fist.
Later that evening, when the moon is rising, I will think back on our morning walk and realize that this time together framed our whole day.