Changing of the Guard

5:15 a.m. What the heck! No chance of catching another snooze. Let’s get a jump on the day. Donning my sweats and T-shirt (half of me fending off the morning chill; the other half prepared for rising body heat from our walk), my doggy Heno and I head out for our daily jaunt through the maze of ten buildings which we call home, West Loch Elderly Village in Ewa Beach.

Confident that we are the first to hit the sidewalks, I stride to set the pace for our walk. Heno (half beagle) walks with his nose, which means zig-zag, dart, sniff, extre-long sniff. Only my leash prods him to catch up with Papa.

In the pre-dawn hour, my favorite time of day, I begin to realize. We’re not first up. In fact, we may be late. Every manner of bird is chirping away in the treetops, begging the sun to share this brief time we call a day. In the near distance, the pulsing din of traffic—early commuters on Fort Weaver Road. Those folks have been awake for an hour already. Our property security guard hails me with a too-cheerful “Good morning, sir!” He’s about to end, not begin his day. “Heno, we’re not early at all. All these other critters beat us to the bugle’s reveille.”

Last turn on the sidewalk toward our home steps. I gaze up into the soon-lightening sky. A morning star—bright! Wait, no, make that two. One shiny white—the second red. Venus and Mars? I google “two stars in today’s early morning sky” and confirm my guesses.

“Hey, there, two planets flanking our own! Time for changing of the guard. You can fade off. Heno and I will take it from here.”

Published by Ric d. Stark

New to a post-retirement commitment to literary non-fiction, Ric d. Stark will focus memories on gay life, Hawaiʻi life and Hawaiian quilting.

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