Lucy, Olive, Honey, Skippy, and some with names I don’t know, are Rabia’s morning joy. When she sees or smells them coming she quivers and her body gathers in anticipation of leaping from the bench. But I have noticed that such excitement is as much for their humans who will pet her as for any parallel play the dogs might engage in. Cara, Ron, Brian, and Bruce may not be the least bit interested in fawning over someone else’s dog but Rabia will push herself nose first right past their dogs in search of affection.
Besides the dogs and their humans, there are others who pass by. Two youngish women walk fast and talk ceaselessly. If I walked that fast I would be too out of breath to talk and so I marvel as they pass and smile at Rabia. And speaking of spectacular talking, there is someone else who walks by herself but carries on endlessly into an invisible phone. I can’t actually say what she looks like or if she is wearing a headset or earbuds because in the cold weather she is completely shrouded by a knit hat with a hood pulled over it. She walks early but in the warm months with earlier light I walk later, so I still don’t know what she looks like.
There is also the friendly guy on the squeaky bike. I don’t know whether the squeak is a WD-40 issue or simply the age of the bike’s body crying out in pain. We always exchange a brief word as he passes by, turns around at the tunnel, and passes again. There are other regular bikers too. A couple that dresses in black, at least in the cold months, and also passes by, turns around, and passes again. But they never say a word and so remain mysterious figures in the early dawn.
All those folks are daily, almost like clockwork between 6:30 and 8:00 am. A considerable amount of activity well before Morning Joe signs off or Get Up comes on air. But there are others too, less regular who run, bike, and walk along the lakefront before breakfast — at least before Rabia and I have eaten ours. It is like a neighborhood waking up except that most of these people have to travel a distance to get down to the lakefront.
There are one-time wonders too, hotel or airbnb guests I mentioned last week that stumble out of their temporary lodging and find their way to the lakefront. I don’t see many bikers or runners among them, vigorous activities better done at a more leisurely hour for those on vacation.
But one recent morning there was none of that, no one. Rabia and I and the birds. A Warbling Vireo (I think) sang to us from a tree overhead. Her (or his) pitch-perfect song began a call and response from other birds nearby. A Red-wing Blackbird issued its less musical but still friendly verses, a Robin regaled us with a full-throated tune, and from a distance some gull screeched like an an angry aunt. There were voices I didn’t recognize to go along with martins flying low on the water like cruise missiles and a slow-flying Heron winging past. Whether human, canine, or Aves, my wish is that you to find joy in your morning.