Sunday, January 25, 2009
It is cold this morning, 11 degrees according to the thermometer hanging outside the great room window. Dawn is just finding its way through the darkness, a faint band of salmon-and-gold light inching above the little hillock to the east. I let the dog out and feed the birds. Then, with chilled hands and feet, shivering, hasten back inside where I can sip hot tea and warm my hands on the mug. The band of colored light has broadened, intensified. It catches momentarily in the bare tangles of the leafless trees at the yard’s edge, then moves onward and upward, pushed aloft by the sun. A few minutes later the dog returns of her own accord. I let her in, hand her the expected treat, go back to my windowside and tea. There are birds at the feeder now—sparrows and titmice, woodpeckers, doves, chickadees. When my daughter was young, she used to sing a song whose chorus was, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad…” I thought of that this morning, sitting there amid the clean streaming light of a brand-new dawn. How often we search for something…anything… to give our lives meaning. We look for pleasure, reward, recognition. And still we’re dissatisfied, restless, with no notion of thankfulness. Our lives are never going to become perfect. There will always be something going on, something which needs fixing, improving, redressing. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never mange to make everything all right. But…so what? So long as we can sit at our table in quiet awe and watch a morning’s sunlight reclaim the darkness, isn’t that gift and blessing and reason enough to rejoice and be glad? Downstream, a great blue heron stands in the riffle, hunched and fluffed against the cold. An equally riser and a serious, patient fisherman. One angler to another, I wish him well.