I got out of bed in the dark and went to the kitchen, brewed a cup of coffee, and sat at the table, reading, writing, watching the day begin to leak some gray into the black of the windows. By the time I stood up to get ready to run, sun was lighting a corner of the kitchen. Two hours, from black to gold. What happens in those morning hours? Somehow they seem unaccountable, an awakening that exists outside of time, a stillness that follows me out of sleep until I’m pulled into what has to be done, or what I think I have to do.
David and I often talk during these early hours, I skim the newspaper, do the Jumble, edit poems, put up a blog post, make lists, look at Facebook, read other blogs. But it feels foggy and unproductive. I get up from the table to start my day, not crediting all of the day that’s already happened, all I’ve already done.
I remember talking to a woman years ago who did training for judges, and one of the things she stressed to them was that they needed to matter to themselves. “It’s okay to sit down and eat some toast with jam in the morning,” she would tell them. “You can listen to the birds, you can relax. You deserve to start your day nourishing yourself.” She wanted them to understand they had worth beyond their roles as judges, that they counted as individual human beings who might want an extra five minutes in the morning to eat breakfast, and that was okay.
Now that I have time many mornings to relax into the day I struggle with feeling like that’s legitimate. Does paying attention to the movement of light help make it more acceptable?
I think it might, because I’ve given myself this job of paying attention, of noticing. Today the sun has come and gone, disappearing in snow showers, then making a hazy circle in the clouds, now hitting me right in the eyes, through my study windows, brightening my desk, shadows of my lamp and pens and letter-opener sharp on the wall, a rose heart where the light is filtered by the red glass of the lamp base.
That rose heart can be my jam on toast.