I had to get up earlier than usual – never a great start to the day. Trudy got up too, wondering if breakfast was going to be extra early. After some tense anticipation she grumbled and slumped into her day-bed in the lounge. How I envied her, lying curled up in all that fur just waiting for breakfast to be served.
An engineer from the Housing Association was supposed to be coming to fix my shower which is slowly detaching itself from the bathroom wall. So while it was still dark outside and the birds were feebly trying out their vocal chords, I was polishing taps and shower fixings, and almost got to the point of cleaning the floor. But procrastination filed away that noble idea before it had time to flourish.
I was told the engineer would arrive “AM”. According to the Tenancy Handbook, that can be any time between 7am and 1pm. So I waited. And waited. And waited even more until AM turned to PM. No engineer! When I phoned to ask what was afoot, I was given no explanation, just an apology and a re-scheduled appointment for tomorrow morning. The waste of an entire morning and the likelihood of a repeat performance tomorrow fuelled my Monday melancholy into despair.
But today is one of those cold days with an icy sun baring its bald head in the sky. So I decided to take Trudy to the park to give her a free run and to give me a blast of cold January air. Even before I had reached the metal gate at the park entrance my spirits had risen in line with the sun. The sharp breeze was flushing out my lungs and giving them new life. I gulped like a goldfish to take in as much air as possible.
Standing still in the open field which spans the bottom of the park, I felt invigorated. Monday melancholy was insignificant here. She began to lose her power and before long I could no longer sense her shadow. Trudy was tucking into an earthy molehill, her back-end was vertical and her collar-bells were clinking rather than ringing. When I whistled her she was reluctant to come, but eventually the prospect of a titbit was more alluring than a mound of earth and she bounced towards me with her ears flapping.
Within seconds she was off again, investigating some new scents which she had not noticed before. If only I could learn from my Labrador and live for the moment. No anxieties about the long-term future, no regrets about the past, just the here and now. Something about Aylestone Park in Hereford always brings me back to the here and now. There’s a magic in this park that stills Time, calms the spirit and frees the soul.
Minutes later Trudy came brushing by in the hope of another titbit. I ruffled her fur, it was damp and smelt of winter grass. Her wagging tail thumped against my legs and I counted the beats – one, two, three, four. It was like a slow drum-roll at the start of a dance. While we stood there together the ice on the sun began to thaw and I felt a warm glow drizzling over my shoulders. I realised that I was truly happy.
When Trudy and I ventured home we were both transformed. Trudy was tired and slow, and could only manage a very slight wag with the tip of her tail. I was at peace and ready to start my Monday afresh, even though it was half past two in the afternoon.
As I write this, Monday has ebbed into the early hours of Tuesday. Trudy is stretched out on her bed lost in Labrador dreams. Before I start to slide into my own dream-world, I thank God that I am alive.