My dog may be a grumpy old beagle who snarls if I try to trim her toenails, but she is very attuned to her owner. As I lay sleepless in bed in the early hours of this morning, she barked dutifully at the paper delivery van - something she never does. She sleeps below our bedroom, and she must have sensed I was awake. I am strangely fond of that narky old mutt.
Too much coffee yesterday has undone me. From midnight onwards I slept only in fits and starts. By five am I gave up on sleep, and simply lay thinking. As much as I like to get enough rest, there is something exciting about being the only one awake in the household; I can think with no risk of interruption.
I thought of Mama, my maternal grandmother, and I thought of her quiet laugh, the glass of sherry she often drank as she made herself dinner, her cornflower blue eyes, and her face at the moment when she died. I thought of watching my daughter on stage tonight at her dance concert; how she moves her little body with grace, while her face shows every anxious thought. I thought of my patient yesterday who unexpectedly told me I'd made her feel 'a million dollars'. I thought of how trying to Christmas shop for my brother makes me want to cry. I thought of my friend, Belly, and the incredibly gentle guidance she gives me when I need advice.
I tiptoed out of the master bedroom, feeling the lure of writing. I sit in a silent house, gazing out the window. The sky is the colour of faded jeans and the sun is sparkling on leaves and grass and flowers.
It's a new day, full of possibility and promise.