Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another Golden Day, Thinking . . .

I know. You're thinking this is the same sunrise photo you saw here last post. Or you know it's a different one, but you're thinking "Enough already with the pretty sunrises." I know what you mean. I sometimes chastise myself with that phrase while grabbing my camera to record yet another daily miracle, my husband still soundly sleeping upstairs, the world quiet around me.

But look at the photo above, the photo below, and imagine, perhaps savour, the minutes it took to effect that difference in colour, in light. What could we do, in so many minutes, to make such a difference? Perhaps the slowing down to watch changes us as well, our darks turning light. . . Perhaps we could learn to release our need for something new, perhaps we might find the new in the old, the recurrent, the daily, the repetitive.
My own experiment with taking time to observe each morning, rather than jumping on-line first thing led to different results than you might have predicted (or you might have been more realistic thanmeI). While I relished the quiet space I opened up for myself, I learned, in that space, that I would benefit more from saving it for more stressful pockets of the day. And I remembered that I can find it in yoga classes (a delight new to me, finally, this summer), in running (when I'm in the zone), sitting in my armchair with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or walking by myself in the evening. In fact, enjoyable as it was to sit quietly in the morning, I had to acknowledge that my working schedule throughout term means getting to the ferry on time. Once up, showering, getting some breakfast, and remembering to pack my lunch, Pilates gear, and marked student papers will be the priority, not breathing deeply and enjoying the sunrise. In that case, checking out the day's news (and a few FaceBook updates, a favourite blog or two, three or four Tweets) while I munch on muesli seems a reasonable way to enter my schedule.

This Saturday morning though, an exhilarating first week of teaching behind me, awake frustratingly early at 5:30 with no chance of falling back to sleep, I ended up sitting on the deck stairs drinking my tea. The cat had been looking fearfully about as she gulped her food, and I thought my presence might deter the raccoons (we have a theory about the "protection racket" they've organized, the percentage of cat food she's supposed to hand over to them regularly).  She visibly relaxed into her meal as I settled on the top step with my large bone china mug steaming its fragrantly smoky brew into the late summer dawn. The first of the season's cruise ships had just moved its glittering behemoth presence out of our view, and we watched the quiet drama of gulls defying gravity, a small boat's wake scoring a line across the water.

Not that there aren't troubles. My mother's health, worries in my children's lives, sorrows I don't share in this space. Life is never as idyllic as these photographs might suggest. But it offers moments. And cultivating attention to those moments not only strengthens me for the tough stuff but sometimes feels like a reward for enduring.

So here we are. Saturday morning. Just another day, beginning. . .


  1. "She visibly relaxed into her meal as I settled on the top step with my large bone china mug steaming its fragrantly smoky brew into the late summer dawn." Beautiful! P.

  2. Life never is as perfect as it seems to others who look at us..and we can't just start a litany of woes can we:) It is the little everyday joys taken in private that give satisfaction...glad you are enjoying your peaceful corner of the world...have a wonderful school year..I love reading your posts,even though I am more of a lurker..Coco

  3. Sounds pretty idyllic to me...
    happy to hear too that Yoga has entered your life.
    I find it to be an essential part of my routine.

    your words and thoughts are poetic and profound.
    lovely post!

  4. ahh, mater .. yes .. deep yoga breath in .. release .. come into the now where all is well .. so many new and different experiences fill our lives .. thoughts .. emotions .. all part of our growing, too .. strengthening us for the endurance ..

  5. such a beautiful, reassuring sameness...

  6. Very lovely. Even better for our unknown synchronicity. Now I've linked to your horizon. The perfect little bit extra. Thank you Mater dear.

  7. This post reads like poetry.

    There's something about taking a moment to witness a sunrise that starts the day off just right. I never tire of these stunning scenes you share with us. One of my favorite things on those rare occasions we're staying somewhere with open space is to get up early and sit outside with my cup of coffee. Too funny about the raccoons. They do have that aura of devious criminality at times, don't they?

  8. That sunrise is spectacular. I'd never do anything if I lived amongst such gorgeousness.

  9. Patricia: Thanks!
    Coco: Thanks for lurking (generally) and for de-lurking (occasionally, as today) -- yes, for me there is so much satisfaction in those everyday joys, and it's important to pay attention to them.
    Hostess: I appreciate the strength and flexibility yoga can bring me, but even more the breathing, the ability to still myself. Is that what you like as well?
    Jane: You know just what I mean!
    Terri: Yes, sometimes repetition is a good thing.
    Lisa: Thank you!

  10. Pseu: They're so smart, wily, and fearless -- with our neighbours, we've built rather a mythology about their abilities, their secret planning, all tongue-in-cheek, mostly, except I think we all privately wonder what the bandit-faced critters are really plotting.
    Kristin: It's easy to get lost in the looking, for sure. . .

  11. Funny how we so often have worries and joy going on at the same time. When the worries get big, it's so important to savour those joys.

    Thanks for these lovely thoughts. And I won't ever get tired of looking at sunrise or sunset photos.

  12. Thank you for another thoughtful, poetic post with gorgeous photographs. I know you wrote it yesterday, but today is the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, and so it feels right reading your words today.

    Our feral kitty tends to gulp as well, and also will relax if we sit quietly near by, as if he knows we'll chase away the racoons.

  13. Anna: You're welcome -- happy to have a new reader commenting.
    1ww: if we're lucky and observant, we can find some joy to counteract the worry, or at least distract us from it momentarily.
    Susan: I'm glad my words gave you some small comfort today.
    Our cat has a feral background as well although she's 15+ and has been well cared for from her kitten days. We sometimes wonder what communication might exist between her and the raccoons.

  14. Although I crave new places to visit and explore, my best work comes from revisiting something I know well, I wholly understand why you would never tire of that view, the subtle changes of light and shape that the camera frequently misses.

  15. What a thoughtful ode to solitude and contemplation. When I wake "too early" I do that too, and tell myself it is a gift. The "protection racket" is funny...I kind of miss the waddling, fearless raccoons who lived in our lane and used our garden as their private resort.

  16. Alison: yes -- and your "series" photographs are a lovely example of the inexhaustible possibilities on themes.
    Duchesse: I love having the house's quiet all to myself -- a tradeoff for being awake earlier than I intended. And yes, raccoons are inherently endearing and comment, even at their most annoying. Damn them! ;-)


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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