By Addie Washington
And with that final blast from the train, morning has wholly arrived. Like some industrial call to prayer, “Wake up! Wake up! Prayer is better than sleep!”—or the sounding of a boat’s horn across the ocean, “We are here! Hallo there?” the unleashed and furious sound of the oncoming train heralds the rush of the day. My blood quickens.
Today I have arisen earlier than usual, catching the first fire-full moments of the day in pinks, oranges, and reds. One of the tremendous gifts of this year has come in the form of these early moments. I have found that on the heels of a night’s rest, I can wake ready to meet the day.
Here, before the day’s stride can outpace me, I am able to riffle through the collection of thoughts in my working memory: the glittering, joyful eyes of the little nugget last Monday (oh, so precious!); the dirt under the nails of the gentleman yesterday, old enough to be my grandfather; Tell me how did you feel when you come out the wilderness?... And other snatches of liturgy or fraught questions steeping in my mind. It is something sacred and mysterious to find a place within the quiet expanse of the morning.
I hear a van ride up the driveway beside our building, and realize my coworkers will soon be entering the office downstairs. They will open the space to the flow of neighbors from near and far who will arrive with all their questions, concerns, frustrations, lessons, and laughter.
I am thinking about how in this time of morning I am like the little leaves. I must be like the little leaves, turning and opening towards the sun. This setting of my face allows me to greet whatever the day brings from a place of deep-seated peace. I need not only the peace, but the openness of this posture; nothing else I know makes room for our encounters and all that we bring to them. Nuances and benefit-of-the-doubts and inculcated assumptions and insecure dispositions and holey facades—these are all a part of our everyday dance with each other, no?
So, this discipline of early rising, like a pre-workout stretch, limbers me up in body, mind, and soul. From within I loosen and am more ready to move to the rhythms of each syncopated interaction. Step, snap, step, STEP, snap, snap… Attuned, I’m becoming attuned to music that I’ve got to hear with more than just my ears (ears of my ears). May my part in this song and dance be an invitation to the part Heidi or May Helen is playing, and let us all hearken for Ike’s solo and Junebug’s jangling accompaniment. Mmmmmhmm. It’s in these hushed moments before the birth of the day that I am learning to listen, and it that has made all the difference.