Earth Angel

by Allison Carmichael
I roll over in bed.
Blah Monday. I moan inside my head.
Chup is going to be busy all day and I am on my own to cross-off my to-do list.
I check the list three times with blurry eyes.
Walk Ralph is top-o-the-list as if he put it there himself. He is a sly dog, we came home from grocery shopping last evening and found him inside with the remote control. And he used his casually-though-thoroughly-annoyed whine to mentioned that he wasn't none-too-pleased that I had polished off the Fritos the night before. I was none-too-pleased with myself for doing the same. Join the club, canine pet.
Switch to spring/summer wardrobe was second on the list. It has been too hot for turtlenecks for a couple months now, but changing out my closets require an all-day effort. That all-day effort cannot be done with Chup home, he's too much of a distraction. Lunch? Okay!
Needless to say, I have no inkling of desire to do either.
With courage I load Ralph in the car after he had urinates on all his usual places. The front hedge, the chain linked fence, Nick's iris patch across the street, the tires of my car. I take part credit for the glorious green of Ralph's territories. Nick should thank me that his purple irises are especially brilliant this year.
After walking down the trail we stop so my dog--who thinks he is a fish--could swim for awhile. We have a routine where I throw rocks as far as I can into the canal and Ralph chases after them splashing furiously. It has been tested, and proven, that he could do this riveting activity all day every day and not for one second miss dry land. And when I throw my back out on occasion hurling rocks into water, The Sailor is seriously disappointed with my performance and howls to let me know.
I pick up a heart-shaped rock and throw it under-handed which comes up short and lands on the bank of the canal. Ralph looks confused. When I bend down to try again, I hear a voice behind me which sounds exactly like Snow White.
"Ohhh! Look at your cute dog!" says an earthy red-headed lady, wearing a brown vest and hiking boots with some sort of a blue-eyed sheep dog.
"He loves to swim!" I blurt out in my returning gee-golly voice, though I am perplexed by her immediate appearance on the scene. Where did she come from?
She inches closer to see Ralph paddling around looking for my rock."Ohhh! Look at him! He is such a good swimmer!"
The sheep dog circles and comes to a panting halt right by my feet. I look the woman over with suspicious eye. She doesn't look malevolent but there is something not-quite-human about her either.
"Isn't it such a wonderful day?" Sing-songs the lady again. She holds out her arms and half turns as if she were going to do a sweeping twirl like Maria in the opening scene of Sound of Music.
I hadn't realized that it was a "wonderful day." At that point it was just Monday, and Walk Ralph was on the top of my list.
On cue, a delightful little breeze blows across the moment being shared by me, the lady and our dogs. The breeze brings with it a scent of Russian Olive.
Suddenly I am possessed with joy. My chin pulls up heaven-bound. "And it smells good too!" I state like I am on a commercial for a toilet bowl cleaner.
She smiles and smells the air.
"Enjoy the rest of the day!" She turns and heads down the trail, her sheep dog follows close behind.
I look at Ralphy. Ralphy looks at me.
I feel tingly inside. Kinda like I am one with the ethers along the canal.
Did I just meet my guardian angel? I wonder checking back down the trail. The lady had disappeared. Ralph gives up on waiting for another rock to be thrown and comes running to my side. And this is the part where he shakes off every droplet of water from his body with such tormented force that he creates mud on the earth below.
Another wind-swept sampling of Russian Olive snaps me out of the magic moment. I start back with a damp Ralph running by my side. Encouraged, I start running myself until I nearly float to my car. Strange, this effect on me.
When I get home my neighbor Lila is getting her mail.
"Nice day huh?" She yells through my car window.
"Very nice day." I reply.
Once Ralph is in the backyard drying in the sun I start unloading my spring/summer bins.
Well, look at that! I had forgotten my gold-lame skirt from last year.

It is a wonderful day. After all.

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