Friday, April 5, 2013

Good Morning

     Sometimes I cannot sleep. Those of you who are ladies of a certain age will understand without any need for me to explain.

     I am not a morning person but after 40 minutes of wakefulness I dragged myself out of bed around 5 am. I crept downstairs so as not to wake my husband and found I was not alone; my daughter's 3:30 am shift at the rehabilitation hospital had been canceled and she went back to sleep on the sofa, swathed in an afghan and down throws. I turned up the heat for her comfort and put the kettle on for mine. I opened the kitchen blinds to check on the sky and the shape of the moon. It is a part of my ritual. The sky and the neighbor’s windows were still dark and the moon was a bright curve of fingernail. After buttering a bagel to broil, I lifted the murmuring kettle from the stove just before it began to whistle and sloshed hot water into a favorite cup. I used a teabag because, for me, it was too early to fuss with loose leaf. As I said, I am not a morning person. While the tea steeped, I stood at the window watching light gather along the edges of the day, silhouetting the black lace of empty tree branches. A framed, rectangle of amber light appeared in the house behind ours. I heard the birds begin to chirp their morning songs. The world was waking up. 

     A well-loved poem ran through my mind and I breathed it into the rising day like a hymn:

Out of the scabbard of the night
By God’s hand drawn,
Flashes His shining sword of light,
And lo—the dawn!

     I sat down with a book I haven’t read since I was in high school and read it again for the first time. John Steinbeck’s The Moon is Down seems even better this second, first time. The tea was hot, the bagel was sweet with honey, and the book was savory with words. I heard my daughter breathing softly in the next room and forgot, for an instant, that she isn’t a child anymore, hasn’t been a child for many years, yet she is still my child and her presence is an antidote to loneliness; her breathing is another kind of hymn.

     Now, a robin is pecking in the garden for early worms; the sword-light of the rising sun is flashing joyously through my kitchen window, and even though I am not a morning person, I know it is a good morning and I will be glad in it.

photo by Fabrizio CacciatoreDawn by Frank Dempster Sherman


  1. I recently wrote about my insomnia--see there, I claimed it, "my"--and I regretted it since then. Why? Because it is just a mass of complaints. You, instead, gave us something beautiful, positive.

    Every time I end up complaining on my blog I end up regretting it, even if it seems to mean more comments. But it is so tempting.

    I like what you wrote.

  2. Hello, I am returning the compliment you paid by leaving a comment on my blog today. My life has been too full for me to write or to visit blogs recently but I am delighted to have found yours: such poetry! I will return.

  3. You make waking at 5:00 AM seem quite lovely.