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I don't know when November snuck around the corner but it's here, and small dog, Charlotte, has picked up a new habit.  Every now and then she walks across our sleeping bodies when the light is barely up through the shuttered windows and begs to go outside.  My husband and I take turns, the safe one rolling over on the pillow, relieved that at least today their coveted hours of sleep will not be interrupted.  This morning it is me who crawls out of a cozy, warm bed, reaching for socks and a pair of worn-out clogs in the darkened closet.

A quote by Edith Wharton comes to mind as we make our way down the hallway toward the front door.  "My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet"

     My "little heartbeat" is all vim and vigor, watching as I pull a long down coat over my pajamas and drag myself out the door.  Wrapping my arms in tight, I plunk down on one of the patio chairs while she busies herself amongst the trees and shrubs.  I let my eyes slide shut for a brief moment, and believe I could have fallen back to sleep right there but for the cold air that has me shivering in spite of being cocooned in clothing.  When I yawn and look around, I am struck by how much the landscape of the yard has changed from only a week or two ago.  The autumnal beauty of October with its bright orange, yellow and gold has all but faded, the leaves now deep-red and brown, the sky dull and gray.  What I want to do more than anything is get back inside to the heated rooms, back to the comfort of my bed.  When I call her name, Charlotte comes running and in we go.

     Stepping into the entryway, I toss my coat over the back of the couch and head down the hallway back to where we started.  My "little heartbeat" is right beside me, stretching the length of her six pound body up on the side of the bed.  now that she's had her way and tasted the chilly air, she wants to nest in the blankets again.  Everything about November beckons us to go inward, I think, as I pull the covers high up over my head.  The colder weather insists we step inside and that is what we do.  The fires we light invite us to sink into big chairs, sip hot drinks and ponder deeper things.  This is a time for reflection, for taking stock of all we have.  A sense of gratitude washes over me as I close my eyes for another hour of sleep.

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