Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't go back to sleep

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
Jalaluddin Rumi

"I wake up with the sun, bright and new.  I listen to the sun,
and the early morning dew. Dew doesn't make any noise."
-- Carey's Brother, Spotswood (1991)
It's Monday but she tastes as sweet as Friday.  Because it's very early still, and the new work week has not spilled onto her first child. I wish morning lasted longer. I treasure the solitude. I relish these dim hours before aurora awakens. I savor it like the coffee I will make soon.

I love her gentle touch. Her music. Her early birds are like last night's stars, only sparkling with sound.  Babies crying for breakfast, fathers shouting their addresses to one another, mamas already busy tidying the twiggy nest.  The birds own dawn the way the frogs used to own evening.

They are a whistling, chirping mixed chorus.  Some rattle like snakes. Others mock the click-click-click of industrial sprinklers.  If the evening ends with a lullaby, the day begins with nature's noisy rap.

I awoke early today, before five because I was still revved up on yesterday afternoon's designer coffee. For awhile, I share the house only with its inanimate inhabitants-- clock ticks, the rumble of the heater, the creaking of stairs.  By the time I reach the bottom of the stairs though, the two toms have begun their begging ritual. This one chants for kibble, that one to be outdoors.

The kitchen door slides open to my backyard stadium of rowdy winged visitors. The whiny tabby tiptoes slowly on the damp concrete, protecting the fragile silence with his fuzzy slippers.  I slip behind him, walk barefoot, and quickly, across the chilly patio stones toward the dog's gate. 

The two collies are ready to romp but stiff from sleep. They yawn and stretch before emerging to the grassy yard for hugs from the human.  The baby female's softness invites my touch, and the older male is jealous of my imbalanced display of affection.  He slides between my legs and I scratch his hairy hips while he marches.

A potted palm hulas in the tender breeze. Its fronds tickle the air, gently, like a lover's light fingers across the silky skin of morning. Lazy. Erratic. Erotic.  A short swipe. A longer wave, then resting again in the sleepy stillness. The whole neighborhood effuses dreaminess.

Slowly, the sun begins to powder the neighborhood in pastels--hazy grays, hinted blues, delicate pinks, pale corals.  The cool crispness remembers childhood camping trips.  I sniff for the smell of frying bacon and wonder as I return to the kitchen if anyone eats pork anymore… and if Glade has test-marketed a camping scent.  The sprinklers interrupt my silly digressions with a morning hiss.

Inside again, I initiate my ceremonial coffee grinding, and the rich nutty fragrance infuses the room.  Mr. Coffee turns magic bean dust and filtered water into a dark energizing elixir.  I pour my first cuppa and click on the tiny counter-top television… then just as instinctively scold myself for sinning against the Universe by rejecting the rest of the morning's sweet gifts. Endless infomercials and stock reports save me from the mindless machine that steals so much inner life.  I quickly turn it off. 

The churning "ommmm" of the frig restores a meditative mood, and I notice the percussive clicks of my leathery sandals on the wooden floor, observe the gliding and tapping of my ink pen on paper, and ponder this acute sensual alertness. It is nice that life lets us do the day's dessert first.

I wonder about this voice of my homonculus which speaks so poetically before life's cocky schedules demand attention. And just as I pose the question, I hear the first street sound, a car rushing to an early appointment.

Next, a noisy prop engine in the sky.  And in mere moments, more cars.  And the sound of rushing water upstairs. Too soon, I must share the leftovers called "the day" with others.
Now it feels like Monday.

Time to unload the dishwasher. To put away yesterday's sundries. To plant the last petunias.  To return the weekend's rented videos before noon or pay $3.98 each per day.  To walk on the treadmill and ride the stationary bike and burn 275 calories.  To empty the coffee into the thirsty thermos.  Glug glug glug, it echoes.  

Time to dismantle the pineapple's spiky armor, to remove the banana's rubbery suit, to manipulate the slippery mango, to slice the orange, and to bite into the brashness of day.
Time for the noise of appointments and meetings and decisions and errands and production and schedules and perhaps even a few playful romps.  

I enjoy work, and I love to play, but I long to protract the peaceful joy of morning into the cluttered din of the day.  To carry her calmly into the bright afternoon.    To hear music in the clattery copy machine and dishwasher.  To sense stillness in the traffic jam.  To cherish the technicolor day and make morning a metaphor.

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.--Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

“Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!”

Kalidasa, widely regarded 

as the greatest Sanskrit poet/dramatist