Saturday, July 31, 2010

CHECKING THE RIVER ROCK…

I've been up since a bit after five. Long enough to dash some cold water on my face, insert the new contacts, brew a cup of coffee, and without turning on any lights, lurch down the hall to my workroom where I managed a successful landing in my deskside chair without tripping over the dog or spilling my hot drink.
Not all my mornings start so well.
It is still dark out, though the first hint of light should come leaking over the eastern horizon within the next fifteen minutes. A half hour after that it will be light enough to begin seeing colors—the six to seven million photoreceptor "cones" in our retinas beginning to kick in—though still too dark to see a cardinal in the blackberry briars well enough to tell whether it's a male or female. For now, all I see beyond the window are a few lighter splashes in the cloying darkness, which I know to be the limestone slabs I've laid for a walkway.
But I can hear a robin swinging through his lilting welcome to the coming sun—a bright, cheerful melody that's filled with promise as it rings with joy. No wonder the darkness flees when it hears the robin!
In a few minutes I'll take Moon the dog out for her morning constitutional. While she's off doing her business, I'll check my river rock which sits round and solid in the riffle edge near the front of the cottage. I use this rock to judge the state of the river's depth and flow…at least until rising water covers it up, whereupon I rely on other natural gauges for my information. Not that I expect to see anything amiss this morning. It hasn't rained more than a sprinkle here for days.
No, the rock is more of a friendly oracle, a visual touchstone to the beginning of my day. I am a creature of habit and find comfort in certain small routines. Checking the river rock is simply a modest reassurance, like the robin's buoyant greeting and the sound of my beloved old dog snuffling about under the junipers. A positive note that at least for now, all is well…
———————

20 comments:

Wanda..... said...

Unbreakable habits here too, first thing I do every morning is look out my west bedroom window into the woods, seeking visitors or change, then it's on to the east livingroom window to look over toward the field for the sunrise, which has been 'UN'remarkable for several weeks now. All done while listening to 'my' Carolina Wrens.

Jayne said...

A post just chock full of contentment on the river... :c)

George said...

Good Morning, Grizz. This new posting is a refreshing as the cup of morning java that sits before me as I, too, gaze from my window at the new creations of the morning light. When I read that last line about the rock reminding you that all is well for the moment, it occurred to me that rocks can offer that reassurance at almost anytime. All things evolve, all beautiful things change into other beautiful things, and all is well, even when it is sometimes difficult to grasp. The rock, however, gets it.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

the picture of the 'river-rock' is stunning. I so want to perch upon it and swish my feet in the cool waters.

I SO appreciate the markers upon which you have come to rely for comfort and security that all is well. I do the same - I rely on hues and colors that filter in that by their familiar design and shadow comfort me and tell a story of the day to come. The birds flock to the feeders and the dog next door comes to "ask" if Gracey can come out and play. ALl signs that the day is starting out as it should - the rest? well, time will tell.

I love your intimacy with your life on the river.

Love Gail
peace and hope.......

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Not much in the way of eye-catching sunrises—or sunsets—seen around here for awhile, either, although I'm happy just to be up and looking, regardless.
Carolina wrens fill my mornings up with their songs, as well, though it's always either the robins or redbirds that I hear first.

Isn't it interesting how we all come to form our own routines, the little habits and their order that we employ each day? And the degree of comfort they give? I expect you might learn a lot about a person by watching these small, unguarded habits.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Contentment…yes, or something close to it; certainly peace and gratefulness that I haven't been swallowed up by the darkness, and that so far, the day's news is good.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

There is both truth and insight in what you say. Rocks do "get it." Beauty does indeed change—though often we fail to perceive that transformed in the same light. Yet it is there, always, regardless of the alteration. Rocks are as ephemeral in their way as the leaf on the tree—yet they're both eternal. My river rock will one day be a grain of sand I could hold on the tip of a finger; perhaps it was once a mountain peak thrusting high into the sky.

Is any one, rock or peak or sand grain, less beautiful because of the change? Less important? Less filled with wonder?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

The quote from Proverbs at the top of this blog succinctly reminds us of that great truth: "…thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."

Each morning is a new page in our life's book—and I always find it both comforting and a bit frightening to know that the hours ahead are a complete mystery. What will the day bring? Faith, resolve, and the talismanic effect of my small routines get me going.

Kay said...

The river itself is my touchstone. Though continually changing in some aspects (green, brown, rippled, still) it is always there and reflects the bankside, the moon, the rain and birds that fly over. I cover no windows that look out on the river.
Thanks for your river musings-they always touch some truth.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kay…

Your river is much, much larger, and farther away from your house. Mine is small and practically in my living room—too intimate to be a what I'd call a touchstone, too constant to be a guest; more like a family member to whom I defer to regularly day and night. I can see the river from every window in the house except the three along the rear, and look at it all the time—by sunlight, starlight, moonlight, and winter's ambient glow when the ground is covered with snow and seems illuminated from within on even the darkest night. I talk to this old pastoral Ohio river, whisper prayers beside its living waters, confide to it my secrets.

The river rock of today's post I merely consult…

I'm glad you have a river in your life and that you enjoy it—and am especially pleased that you make a point of keeping your view of it as unobstructed as possible. Rivers do reflect and reveal time and truth in ways that I treasure. I expect this would be a far better world if everyone had a river running through their lives…

The Weaver of Grass said...

You have captured the early morning so well here Jim - I can picture you clearly.

Tramp said...

Congratulations on making it to the chair relatively unscathed.
Yes, that checking the state of things that we have woken up to.
We live at the top of the hill so there's no river to check on, any sign of a river outside would have me drawing up plans for an ark. I like to "feel" the morning outside as well as viisit the more formal guages, the thermometer and barometer while the kettle is on.
And dogs? Well, they have other guages which they visit on that first foray outside.
...Tramp

Grace said...

Hi, still reading your blog, just haven't commented in awhile. I'm a creature of habit, too, and I wish my morning rounds included a river rock (and, of course, the river!).

Bernie said...

I too am a creature of habit, somehow the routine brings me great comfort.
You described a perfect beginning to another day. I for one never want to know what the day will bring, I want to always be hungry for what may or may not happen. We have had hot sunny days with lots of rain throughout each night. Can you believe August is here already.
Summer is going by much to fast for my liking......:-) Hugs

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

I've love early mornings—always have, though in my youth and through my thirties, because I always stayed up so late, I seldom made it up before sunrise without being forced by some schedule necessity. Now, though, I tend to arise well before dawn—5:00a.m. today—and conk out early in the evening.

Partly I get up so early because of pain—arthritis, old injuries—which eventually reaches the critical stage and tips the balance between being able to ignore it and continue sleeping or becoming vertical, which eases the worst of it to an endurable level…but also—and I know this sounds silly—because I don't want to miss a new morning coming over the hill from the east. I love watching a new day being born, love the mystery and possibility it brings, love the soft beauty of the burgeoning light and how it changes with weather and season. I love watching the world wake up.

I hope I can get some of that into my posts from time to time. That's one of my aims. And thank you for what you've said—I do appreciate it very much.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

I generally make the same filled-cup-in-hand journey down the hall in darkness every morning, so I have the advantage of practice…though even still, I'm not always successful. There's the wild card of Moon the dog deciding to flop down in a new spot, or my forgetting that I've left some obstacle—box, stool, stack of books—sitting out which my "radar" fails to pick up. And some morning I tend to stagger, lurch, or gimp more than usual.

We all have our own personal routines. And like you, I also like to get out and "feel" the morning, though it's more like feeling the last of the night and the press of light unseen over the eastern hill.

Yup, dogs have their own routine, along with certain needs.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Grace…

I expect there's a deeper meaning to our personal morning routines. Habits are perhaps our way of making sure the world—our unique perceived reality, anyway—is still on track, still there more or less as it was when we went to bed; we want reassurance that nothing changed while we weren't watching. Also, by making sure we get off to a familiar start, we think that gives us a shot at directing the outcome, setting the path for the day ahead.

Or maybe that's just me musing too early in the morning and without sufficient caffeine in my system…

Anyway, I'm glad you're still reading, though I've missed your comments.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

You're so right—part of the joy and wonder of life lies in the mystery, the not knowing what waits around the bend. Yes, it could be disaster…but it could also be delight. I don't want to know, either, any more than I want to pick up a book and read the last chapter first. Life is to be lived, not scheduled.

It rained a little bit here late yesterday, but has been pretty dry and very hot for most of July. And it seems to me like this summer has raced along—August is here and only last week it was April.

Rowan said...

I always check the sky first thing in the morning - not that I can usually forecast the weather by looking at it! It's more of a checkpoint for the day. The sky and I are both still there so everything's OK:)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rowan…

I think that's a sort of subliminal thread for many of us in regards to our morning routines…a brief reassurance in the familiar before facing another new day's worth of whatever comes our way.