This morning I woke up to the sun rising in the east into a pink haze of clouds over a lake of utter stillness. The air was colder than usual, which isn’t saying much this year, after a fall of above average temperatures. But I could see my breath and the grass by the lake was sparkling with frost, so that’s something. The water was like glass, the surface broken only by a tiny duck that had decided to stick around these parts for a little longer before heading south for the winter. As the sun’s rays gathered strength, I looked into the western sky to see the sort of vibrant blue that only shows up once in awhile, usually when I’ve gone outside on days when I think I’d rather stay in. There is something about pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone (sometimes quite literally) that provides rewards that you otherwise wouldn’t receive, I suppose. At any rate, instead of sitting sipping coffee and scrolling through emails and messages this morning, I stood on a frosty dock and watched a duck glide over misty waters as the sun crept higher into the sky.
More often than I’d like to admit I spend my mornings looking at a screen or going straight into whatever task needs to be done first to get the day’s list accomplished. But when I do that – go straight from bed to a screen or task on the list – I miss the gift of witnessing a new day coming into being. I miss seeing my breath mix with the breath of the earth and I miss noticing the other forms of life that add depth and diversity to my experience in this human life. I miss being fully rooted in my everyday experience when the first thing I do to start a day is give my attention to something that can only be brought into my consciousness by a screen.
I’d rather be fully rooted in the life right in front of my face in real time, I think. Screens and to do lists have value, to be sure. I’m not saying throw the iPhone in the lake and clear the calendar. (..but sometimes that seems like a good idea..) What I’m saying is let’s at least start each new day grounded in the reality that we can touch, smell, and taste. Walk outside to see the last of the late autumn stars fade into the dawn. Feel the moss on the north side of the trees and marvel at the different ways life finds to express itself. Breathe in the scent of the wild air moving freely on the winds of time. Remember the basic truths that always find their way home again.
I think I’ll make a point to ensure my mornings are full of wild air and fading starlight.