An Early Magic

Between dawn and daylight I move through a river of sacred moments as thoughts I ache to keep move like beautiful, slow, vanishing butterflies.
That’s when I visit Sasha.
Barely after dark lifts, snowy sky a mist gray, I’m standing in Bernice’s living room, alone, listening to her heater, listening to silence. I’m waiting for Sasha. She’s outside, paws sinking into crunchy snow with each step. I watch her for a few seconds, then turn my back to an empty room. I have no face, no voice.
When I left home, my husband and boys were sound asleep.
My first words to Bernice spoken two years ago, “You bought my house!” were met with a smile and a “Well alright then!” I told her I’m her Helen’s daughter, that we changed our mind only a few hours before making an offer on the house she’s just moved in to. For months after we chose a smaller one story a couple miles south, my younger son would sigh, “I wanted the two story.” He listened a few seconds as Bernice and I moved through proper introductions, walked past us and right through her front door. I’m lucky. She smiled at his back, called out, “Go ahead, Joshua is inside.” Josh is her 11 year old son. Bernice is my mom’s neighbor and, after an introduction that we both recognized as meeting a sister, one of my closest friends.
Now I’m in her living room at first light on Christmas eve, sharing space with an ornately lit pine, a shadow in its holy glow.
Dawn is slow in winter. I’m standing nowhere, surprised when Sasha’s at the back door after having inspected most of the yard. She’s ready to eat breakfast, which takes less than thirty seconds, then she wants love. I’ve been informed I spoiled her over Thanksgiving when they went north. Now her small, shaggy face is turned up to mine, her body wagging. I sit on the floor in front of the couch, pat my legs. All the while I pet her she looks at me adoringly. I’ve never owned a dog but I understand now.
Soon she’s snuggled along my leg. I plan to get up soon, head back to my family, my bed, when I notice she’s shivering. Plans change. We sit together, me giving her scritches and pets. I wait until her body doesn’t shake, until she makes her own way back to the doggy bed.
Home again, I crawl back under our king size comforter, snuggle up to my husband and drift back to sleep, the full light of new day settling over an early magic… until the dawn of Christmas morning, when Sasha and I start the day together once more.

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