Before you ask, this post is completely safe for work, except for the part about electric donkey bottoms.
Since June I've been doing most of my daily workouts in the wee hours before SNG and the kids get up for the day. In the summer, I'd start out after sunrise and get back as it started to get hot. In the fall, I'd leave right at or just before sunrise and get home in full morning light. Now that it's December, I leave in pitch darkness, run in pitch darkness, and usually get home in pitch darkness, or maybe just as the first light starts to show and I can sort-of be seen by passing cars. My hat has lights all over it and I carry a flashlight. It's kind of monotonous. Sometimes I slip on roadkill, which is exciting, but not fun. But the sounds of the woods at that time of day are spooky and intoxicating. Next month the days will get a little longer, and I look forward to it.
If I feel like staying on pavement (a good plan when it's pitch dark), I can take a route from my house down to a small lake surrounded by woods. On the way I always pass the same four neighbors (two with dogs, one running without dogs, one waiting for the high school bus) and one guy who rides a bike lit up like an electric donkey bottom.
In the lake live at least five beavers. I know there are at least five, because that is the most I've ever seen at one time. They are elusive -- you have to show up before sunrise and be very, very quiet. Usually I see them swim around in little circles, passing one another and SPLOOSHING a tail in the water on the way by (a beaver handshake, or a beaver prank?). Sometimes I see them just sitting on the shore listening to frogs. This morning I couldn't see them (it was really dark) but I could hear one slap-slap-slap-slap mud onto the dam with its tail, then splash-splash to gather more mud? dig? and then slap-slap-slap-slap. The sound really made me smile as I imagined the beaver making finishing touches on the winter hideaway.
e-baby has asked me to take a picture, but there's no way it would look like anything but a black screen. So I try to paint a vivid picture of the beaver lake before sunrise, chatting over breakfast every day. Some of the great joys of life are found in the tiniest corners.