2023-04-13: first run of the new year

always the hardest. breath short, endurance shot, wondering why i do this.

out early with the dogs, half-past seven, one pulling me, one barely keeping up, the three of us retracing last year's routes: past schoolchildren waiting for buses, past the garbage revealed in receding snow, past the drainage ponds finally melting...

geese overhead, a red-winged blackbird overheard — that beautiful bird, its rusty, creaking cry.

twenty minutes becoming thirty, the initial fatigue melting away. thinking to myself, this will be the first of many.

back home on the icy sidewalks, stutter-stepping to avoid slipping, past the snowdrifts glistening in the finally-seasonable sun — so much reduced, they'll be gone soon — back home to towel off the dogs and take an ice cold shower, then get to work in the glow of the early morning light.