“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
― Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet
It’s a few moments past sunrise, and I am sitting on the back deck in my pajamas and socks, snuggled into the comforting warmth of one of my grandma’s tattered quilts. I have no immediate obligations, nothing on my agenda but to breathe in the tenderness of the morning and to allow the dawn’s first blush to calm my already chattering mind. The air is crisp, almost cold, and heavy with the scent of lilac. All around me the vibrant white of the dogwoods magnifies the lush greenness of the leafy oaks, and just as the rising sun sets fire to the treetops, thousands (millions?) of tiny birds shatter the silence with jubilant song.
And taking their cue from the birds, my two drowsy dogs suddenly rouse themselves into a frenzied wrestling match at my feet before one of them spots a squirrel scampering across the yard, and then they are both bounding down the stairs in their never-ending quest to impress and protect me. And as I lean over the railing to watch their antics (silently willing the squirrel to skitter up a nearby tree in the nick of time), my eyes stray to my recently planted vegetable garden, and I can’t help smiling. Tomatoes and peppers, carrots and onions and lettuce, cucumbers and zucchini and squash–and each plant, I swear, taller and fuller and greener than it was just yesterday. I can’t remember the last time I planted a garden, so how could I have known that so many small plants straining toward the sunlight could feed my soul long before their bounty could satisfy my palate?
Peace. Serenity. Joy.
I used to think that summer–with its high temperatures and even higher humidity–was my favorite season of the year, but now I’m starting to think that perhaps summer received preferential ranking only because I had more time to notice and enjoy its offerings. This is the first spring since I was a pre-schooler (many, many, many years ago) that I haven’t been jumping from bed long before the sunrise in a frantic push to ready myself for an even more frantic day. I’ve never been home day after luxurious day during the spring, never able to marvel at this season’s gentle, early-morning beauty or revel in its peaceful countenance.
I am lucky, and I know it. And I wish others could experience what I’m experiencing–waking up to a carefree day radiant with possibilities and knowing that if it rains today, it’s no big deal because tomorrow (and the day after that and the day after that) will be just as carefree. The sun will shine eventually, and I will be able to play–and sometimes playing after one of those spring rains is even more luscious and delicious and wonderful because the world is somehow brighter and softer at the same time.
This spring I have wandered down backwoods trails, scouring the ground for tiny wildflowers that in previous years I never noticed. This spring I have drifted down to the lake over the hill, sitting in solitude on the bluffs while the wind has whipped through my hair and the whitecapping waves have danced before me. This spring I have followed my husband’s lead down winding goat paths, inching across narrow cliff faces in search of rain-fed waterfalls while slip-sliding in mud and praying that the shaky legs that carried me two miles down into those canyons will also be able to carry me up and out.
And, oh, this spring my efforts have been rewarded–not just through the beauty I have sought and found but also in the inner calm I have discovered along the way. For as long as I can remember, my husband, my sons, my friends and every medical professional I have ever visited have all told me the same thing: “You worry too much. You’re too tense. You need to relax.” I have listened to their admonitions and advice and nodded in agreement, but even though I have recognized the truth in their words, I have lacked the ability (or the desire?) to relinquish control and let myself live in the moment. Until now. I may still have one hand grasping at the reins, but I am trying to loosen my grip, and in this season of rebirth, rejuvenation and renewal, I am learning that old dogs can indeed learn new tricks. I am refreshed, and I am alive.
But enough. I have properly greeted this gift of a day, and now it is time to go back inside, warm my morning bowl of oatmeal, pour my first glass of iced tea and decide which book I want to bring back outside with me when the afternoon sun starts whispering my name.
What a life.
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