We were selfish with our mornings on Cape Cod. They belonged to only us.
Brisco would run and slide to the door when I jingled the leash. We’d slip out of the cottage while everyone slept, both barefoot on the damp grass. We’d startle rabbits on our walk to the empty road. Brisco would pull intently toward the rise of the dunes.
“Okay buddy, go!” I’d say into his ear as I unhooked his leash. Sand would spray my shins as he raced onto the beach, his little feet hopping along the rocks and bonfire remnants, pointy ears tweaked by the breeze. I would meander behind him, mind quiet, picking up shells, and twisting my feet into the sand.
Then Brisco would give the signals: a sudden stop, an expectant glance over the shoulder until he got my attention, and a wink before he would tear off running. I’d chase him out onto the exposed flats of the bay, the water a haze and rush far in the distance. My feet would thud into the packed sand and we’d weave long, crazy parallel lines of doggie prints and woman footsteps.
There was no reason to run or laugh as hard as I did, or chase after sea gulls. I felt the sun in me as much as it was warm on me. Nothing separated me from Brisco, or us from the shine of the day. Running on the flats, Brisco was always a puppy and I was a child forever, and we began the day like we were starting life for the very first time.