I woke up suddenly this morning. Opening one eye I looked at the clock. Three a.m. A smell assaulted my nostrils. My brain registered the familiar pungent odor. It can’t be, I thought. I’ll ignore it. No, my brain said, get up…now. You know what it is. I turned on the reading lamp. Three Border Collies nervously danced by the side of the bed. They knew the odor was wrong, someone was in trouble. There on the floor were dark piles, not one or two but four, like a painting, a dab here, a dash there, a heavy plop of brown swirled in the middle. Someone had made an early evening raid on the kitty litter box and this was the result. I groaned, but know the drill. Put the dogs out, clean, grab paper towels , wet rags, ammonia, stain remover, rug cleaner, neutralizer. What a way to start the day, I grumbled to myself.
By six-thirty a.m. the kitchen was also clean, chores done, all was normal. I stepped outside with the smelly trash. The dogs ran in front of me down the old wooden steps, anxious to run in the back yard. But I looked up and beheld nature’s display to the east and watched and photographed the colorful sky for thirty minutes, the dogs forgotten.
Red skies at morning, sailors take warning.
Although the dogs “artwork” wasn’t a great start to the day, had it not happened I may have missed the exquisite red sky, the calm before the storm, the forecast warning of days of rain and thunder and lightning.
This was the start of a new week, new stories, another chapter of my life, wondering if my dad will survive another week, another year. Tomorrow is still the great unknown. But without the three a.m. wake up call I would have missed a breathtaking gift.
Eventually I’ll look to the west and see:
Red skies at night, sailors delight.
Until then, days of rain.