I start each day by opening the blinds and making coffee for my wife. This way, I enter the day by letting in light and doing something for someone I love. From there, come what may, I’m centered in the strength of light and care. Then I feed our dog and go to work, which for me is re-entering my conversation with life. Like an astronomer who spends his days looking into the galaxy, tracing the movement of stars and planets, I look into the inner galaxy, tracing and mapping what I can.
By midmorning, I take Zuzu, our yellow Lab, for a walk. It’s there that the trees and birds begin to speak. Or rather, I begin to listen, as they’ve been sharing their secrets constantly. Most mornings, I see birds tending and feeding their young, flying to and fro with twigs, or pecking at the ground for seed. They’re always building and mending their makeshift nests. Much like us, going to and fro to gas up the car, and pay the bills, and get the tools we need to patch the roof. Endless tasks that keep us a part of life.
Today, we went for our walk a little closer to noon. The sun was everywhere and things seemed extra close. Perhaps my mind was more empty and my heart more full, but the tulips just opening and the wind ruffling the budding leaves seemed Eden-like. Then I saw a single bird perched atop the very tip of an enormous blue spruce. So easily balanced, it looked out on the world it would have to return to. Then I saw another perched atop an old oak.
The birds pausing from their tasks became silent teachers, saying without saying that we need to fall in love with the ordinary rhythms of life, again and again. And when the tasks are done or have become too heavy to complete, we need to pause and perch atop our worries and concerns. So we can return to the world and do what needs to be done, until what sustains us reveals itself like the inside of a seed cracked by our beak.
I start each day by letting in light and doing something for someone I love, in order to do what needs to be done to repair our small part of the world. Then I listen, and that listening becomes the perch from which I chance to see all we are a part of. The day unfolds and I get excited, then annoyed, then confused, and tired. I eat and sleep and do it all over again. When I get tangled in the tasks, it can seem like hell. But when the light illuminates the inside of things, like today, and the coffee is brewed, things go quiet, and there’s nothing else I could ask for.
A Question to Walk With: Describe two efforts you do every day to affirm who you are and your place in the world. If you don’t have such a ritual, what might you do to create one?
This excerpt is from my book, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky (Sounds True, 2017).
*Photo credit: Pixabay