The morning begins with the jewel of Venus, hanging low in the predawn sky. A sore throat that fades with the night. A yearning for hot coffee. Frost, the latest, newest, cutest kitten, bounds from the mountain of leg to the mountain of shoulder in my bed. McKinley has snuck into bed, too, and his thick wavy hair, tangled and jutting out from his head, tickles my nose andd irritates my fragile morning self. I roll over, but it’s for certain, I am awake.
“Baby, wake up and make some coffee, pleeeease.” I nudge Andrew’s enormous shoulder, pushing against him like I push against waking, which is totally not fair, I know, but he is a morning person and I am so not.
And he wakes up, good-natured soul that he is, and descends to the kitchen to stoke the fire and grind the beans. Before it’s even done brewing, he’s bringing me a cup of coffee, sweetened with sugar, cream, and husband-tenderness.
After seeing McKinley out the door and down to the bus with his older siblings (wearing dirty pants, as I can’t seem to keep the boy combed and in clean clothes), after coffee, after waking the grumpy Renee (who is like me in the morning: “I’m stilllll resting…” she says, frowning), after dressing her in smiles, and brushing out her long hair, after everyone else has gone, and the house is empty, only then can I find this moment to sit down and center myself.
And look, the Sun has just risen over the crest of the ridge, and the frost glimmers in the abundance of light. I step out onto the deck and the air feels like Spring, cold and sharp, but melting at the edges. I envision little baby lettuces, spinaches sprouting true leaves between the slim brave blades of their first leaves.
Last night we ate creamy potatoes from our garden, and there’s still more to be eaten. Rae insisted that we plant more this year. And all McKinley wants is to be a farmer, something he talks about a lot, as in, “I want to quit school and be a farmer.” He’s seven years old, and sometimes I feel like I’m standing in his way. Regardless, we’re in early January, too early for any of these to be anything other than seeds in our imaginations.
And if I am to sow my own seeds, here in the cauldron of my creativity, then now, in this quiet glimmering moment is the time. For this day is my life, and I know that there are many things to which I must tend, things that can appear quite mundane at first glance. But what a soup I have stirred into this cauldron, and what passion I kindle to warm this brew!
Stepping out of the mundane means stepping into the sacred now, into the awareness of the richness of my breath, of the golden beauty of Sunlight that is surely as alive as the Earth it embraces, of the grand miracle of just being alive, here, in this moment, sitting cross-legged on my soft bed, wrapped in my red robe, warm in my Snoopy pajamas. I go deep, deep into the fire-energy of the heart, and I believe, as surely as I ever have, that the black hand that has woven its suffering into this world, as deep and as terrible as it is, the black hand that tore Benazir Bhutto from this Earth, that sacrifices children to war, that tears apart families and childhood, this black hand does not dwell in the heart, it cannot touch the power and light that dwells there, it cannot extinguish this fire that dwells in each of us, it cannot press out the flames.