The Morning After

I woke up this morning at my usual time, just an hour earlier.  As I normally do, I snapped up the shade to the window above my head, thinking I would see only dark.   Yesterday, at the same time, light already suffused the sky, but now I’ll have to wait another month or so to get back to the same place.  However, this morning the sky was light, clouded over, looking like snow.  I remembered that G said something last night about that–the springlike weather we were promised for the next few days was going to change back to winter, again.  I was just grateful it wasn’t pitch black, making me feel like I was getting up in the middle of the night.

I went about my morning routine–coffee in the maker, back for my shower, getting dressed.  The house was quiet.  As I poured my first cup, the soft diffuse light outside drew me.  I wanted to be outside, so I slipped on my hoodie that hangs just inside the basement stairway and stepped out onto the back porch with my coffee. 

It was chilly but not winter cold.  It was a spring cool, alive with potential.  I moved out from under the covered patio and realized that what I thought was overcast was, in fact, a fine, moist mist.  Not fog, not quite thick enough for that, but everything in the yard had a light layer of condensation on it, something very rare for this part of the world.  The moisture wasn’t heavy enough to obscure my glasses, but I felt it on my face, the cool kiss of morning damp, entrancing in a dry climate.  The lights down the street and across in the park were glowing globes of soft illumination.  The sky shifted in pale colors, gray, mauve, pinkish-purple.  Every sound was magnified, the surf-like rush of traffic on the highway, the morning bird calls–robins returning, the ever present sparrows and finches–waking each other up and passing on their news.  The steel mill’s rhythmic clang seemed closer than ever.  Sound travels easier when there’s substance to the air.

I wandered around the yard, taking in all the things that G managed to get done in a couple of days of warm weather.  We have new additions, some subtractions and changes.  Nothing stays the same around her.  The welcome sound of the reactivated water garden made me smile.  St. Francis stood quiet watch over all of it.  The beds are bare, empty, but some of the perennials are starting to shoot tiny leaves from their bases.  Bulbs are beginning to peek out of the dirt.  Buddha sits amongst the iris shoots off the patio.  My footsteps were absorbed by the soft earth.  I stood under the redbud tree, the apple trees, the peach and plum and cherry trees.  All the branches are full of buds just waiting for a little more warmth and light to burst forth in flower.  I could imagine them sighing in bliss in the moist air after a rather dry winter.

I walked along the new flagstones laid on the north side of the yard.  G made a stronger trellis for the blackberry bushes and I’m looking forward to an even bigger crop this year.  The hot tub hummed contentedly as I passed it.  The air was so still in the meditation garden, I could imagine the entire world holding its breath, waiting to settle down around our ridiculous attempt at trying to manipulate time.  I moved the pendulum between the two pipes of the large wind chime that hangs from the plum tree, just enough to make one soft gong.  The sound was pure and clean in the clinging air.  I wandered by the garage, between it and our little greenhouse, where we planted a ground cover of buckwheat in the fall that managed to stay green all winter.  Shortly, we’ll till it under for green manure and plant lettuce, cilantro and other greens there.   In the long garden bed next to the street, there are still some carrots that never got picked.  I wonder if they’re still good or if they’ve turned woody.  When it warms up, I’ll find out and maybe they’ll go in a pot roast.

I finished my coffee.  The sky was lighter and the mist had stopped.  The birds paused in their morning greetings.  It was time to go in and start the day.  I was no longer annoyed at the time change.  A simple trick of the clock had brought me a bit of magic, a shift in dimension, a quick trip to an otherworld that many people never get to experience.  I felt only gratitude and humility, and I hope to carry that forward, today and for all the other mornings.

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