Autumn mornings

autumn - 1


As the Harvest Moon beams out over the lake this morning, it looks like fireflies are dancing over the water.  I’ve been up since 5:00 a.m., too curious about what’s happening out my window in all this moonlight.  Perhaps the black bear, who’s been frequenting our property for over a month, is taking a drink at water’s edge.  Maybe the loons I’ve been hearing are silhouetted on the lake, backlit by moon shine.

I’ve always been a morning person.  Most of my life, it’s been because I wanted to stretch the day out as long as possible so I could cram in more activities in a rapid-fire lifestyle.  Hurry, hurry, hurry.  Now, fortunate to live in the grace of my 70’s, I’m remembering how Pius told us, at the start of our hike into Coleman’s Hermitage, “All rushing is violence”, when one is on sacred ground.  Both dawns and dusks are thresholds, between the light and the dark, and are sacred ground in their own right.  John O’Donahue, in Anam Cara, writes of dawn, “When you attend to the way the dawn comes, you learn how light can coax the dark.  The first fingers of light appear on the horizon, and ever so deftly and gradually, they pull the mantle of darkness away from the world.”  Of night he says, “The world rests in the night.  Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure.  Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark.  Darkness is the ancient womb.”  And, so, we cross these thresholds every single day, rushing too much to notice their importance in our lives.

All the land is covered in spectacular beauty this last week of September.  The Canada geese are restless and great flocks fly high overhead, or skim near the surface of the water, where you can hear their wingbeats.  I’m washing my wool throws and putting them back on their chairs, and replacing the blue and white nautical striped throw pillows with the tartan plaid ones.  Tomorrow, the sailboat will be sailed down to Dayton Harbor for winter dry dock storage.  Don has been splitting logs for weeks and the wood pile outside the front door is tall and wide.  Bit by bit, we are putting the house to bed for the long winter coming over the horizon.  But, there must be no rushing of this lovely fall season, a hallowed threshold, between the light and the dark of the year.

Morning–by Billy Collins
Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?
This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—
maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,
dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,
and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.

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