Unnecessary Armor

Author’s Photo

I knew it was going to rain this morning.

When I got up, it was still dark outside. A flick of the front light switch illuminated a dry stoop and concrete path. I pressed my unique fingerprint onto my iPhone button and, like a special secret agent, gained access to a map splattered with shades of yellow, red and green — mostly green. The precipitation line was creeping closer and closer to my neck of the woods.

“Mara! Get up!” I called. “If we want to avoid the rain, we’ve got to get going this morning.”

I was greeted with absolute silence.

Mara and I have been sharing a girl’s weekend as my husband and son ventured to the north woods in search of muskellunge, walleye, crappie and grouse. Mara’s taken full advantage of the open space in our bed. She’s never been one to turn her tail on an opportunity.

I made a half pot of coffee, looked at the radar again, took a peek at the dry stoop and headed back up the stairs, coffee with a splash of half & half in hand.

“Mara! Move over!” I said sternly. She ignored me. I climbed back into my spot, wedging my body underneath hers. She begrudgingly slid over.

“If we don’t get a move on, we’re gonna get wet,” I informed my furry bed hog. She simply rested her chin on my thigh and closed her eyes. “Ok — fine with me.”

I picked up my current book, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. Two chapters later I asked, “Shall we?”

Despite the lack of reply, I got dressed, brushed my teeth and headed back downstairs. “MAAAARRRAAAA! GET DOWN HERE!” I yelled, hoping to light a fire.


I turned the front door deadbolt and opened the front door.

Ker-thump. (That’s Mara jumping off the bed.)

“C’mon girl!” I encouraged. Navigating the stairs has become a painful challenge for her ten year old Labrador hips. She made it down, went outside to potty and came back in for some breakfast.

“Let’s go!” I said when she’d finished. I hoisted her onto her spot in the back seat of the Tahoe. She helps me out by getting her front paws up onto the seat so that it’s only her rear I have to lift. Dear God, Please let this continue for a long time.

My mind was set on a stretch of the Ice Age Trail this morning — about a half hour drive from home. Fifteen minutes into the drive, just as we passed the high school, the first fat drops made contact with the windshield.

“Great,” I said, looking over my right shoulder into liquid brown eyes. “This is all your fault.”

“Oh well, we won’t melt. You’re up for it, aren’t you girl?”

We walked three miles round trip in the pouring rain. Everything shimmered. The leaves — dead and alive glistened on branches and forest floor in shades ranging from the brightest reds, yellows and oranges to the dullest tans and browns. The mud was shiny and slick on the hills. The rocks sparkled and the sand was heavy, clinging to the soles of my tennis shoes.

I carried the bright, polka-dotted umbrella that seemed so out of place on the autumn trail — my armor from nature’s bath.

Mara? She didn’t need no stinking umbrella! She might like a warm cozy bed, but she’s a wolf at heart, an adventurer. Fearless — for she knew there was no harm, beyond comfort abandoned.

Next time — I’m leaving the umbrella in the truck.