“Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp;
I myself will waken the dawn.”
(Psalm 57: 8 and Psalm 108:2)
From the time I was able to get out of bed myself, I have loved the early, early morning. The quietness of a sleeping house seemed perfect to raid the cookie jar and settle in with a book when I was in elementary school. Later, the pre-dawn was my time to dry my hair under the hair dryer and finish reading assignments before going to Speech team practices. Reading novels and assignments gave way to reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee in bed when I was out on my own, beginning a career. Now, the quiet house and deep darkness of pre-dawn seem just right to snuggle in with the dogs, balance a cup of coffee and my Droid as I peruse an electronic version of the Daily Office. I love these moments with the day stretched out in front of me, filled with poems and prayers and promises. (as the old John Denver's song goes)
But I don’t get to linger too long because the dogs are eager to check their pee-mail and join the rest of the canine population out claiming the neighborhood as their own. Fortunately our route takes us through parts of town with a minimum of light pollution, so I can enjoy the starry, starry morning. No matter how often I trace the way from Orion’s belt up five hand widths to the Pleiades, I am pleased to see what looks like the “littlest dipper” to me. It moves me to grateful prayer and praise. “The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name." (Amos 5:8)
Usually by the time we arrive home the dawn is arriving. Lat week we experienced a variety of skies. Overcast and foggy giving way to light snow; blustery windy skies that make the streets weep with snowy streams; crystal clear skies like martini glasses in a hutch; the full moon (the Celtic Moon of Ice or the Native American Trapper’s Moon or is it the Wolf Moon?). On Saturdays, much to the dog boy’s chagrin, I linger over my coffee and walk in broad daylight!!! We take an alternate route, often through the UW campus—different sights, different smells.
This last week, the trees and shrubs were blinged out in rhinestone raiment for a winter formal. It was spectacular, but the moment that moved me most was returning home to find on my own driveway fresh tracks in the dusting of snow, prints of my Keen hiking boots alongside those of one of the resident cotton-tails.
“Keen to go down this rabbit trail.”
It seems that so much of my life is structured by a long list of “to do’s.” My personality type just loves making those check marks as one task after another is accomplished. In my most obsessive moments I’ve been known to list things already done just for the sheer joy of making a check mark. The dog boys are working on me (and encouraged by my therapist’s validation) to walk more mindfully, to take more moments to enjoy what I’m seeing; to notice the sounds and smells; to taste the coldness of the winter air. Taking full advantage of my sensory system touches my spirit and puts a song on my lips and in my heart. One day I found myself singing ala Mr. Rogers, “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood." It seems good to pursue these rabbit trails, finding that God has gone just ahead and is dropping handkerchiefs of nature's grace, flirting with me to love the one I'm with--Christ who is ever with me!