We rise early, well before sunrise. It helps to go to bed early. Fortunately the New Year's Eve celebratory fireworks in the neighborhood ended relatively early so that we and our 12-year old dog Henna could drift off to sleep. Henna is not a fan of loud noises.
As we do every morning, we rang in the New Year before dawn. After savoring a cup of coffee sitting by the wood stove, I bundled up and headed out with Henna, a headlamp clamped to my head. Our first walk is aways in the morning darkness. Henna sniffs around for overnight animal movements. I glance at the sky--darn, still cloudy. The ground is still snow-free and soft, it feels more like March than January.
By mid-morning on New Year's Day we were walking the wide flats at Seapoint Beach in Kittery, Maine. The tide was just coming in, a dozen or so others were there, many with dogs running happily after tennis balls and greeting each other. The calm ocean water shimmered under the brilliant winter sun. A few sea ducks far offshore dove below the surface of the ice-cold sea. I marvel at the circulatory system and anatomy of ducks and geese that allow them to thrive in the cold water, while we require many layers of clothing in winter even on land.
On this clear, crisp first day of 2024, I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such natural beauty.