Sunday, April 22, 2012

Woke Up This Morning

Woke up this morning. Many songs begin with that phrase:

Woke up this mornin' feelin' blue,
My gut was full of sour mash,
My neurons swam in glue...

Well, maybe not quite that graphic. More romantic probably...

Woke up this mornin' feelin' blue,
Teardrop stains on silken bed sheets,
My only memories of you..

Woke up this morning...When he spent the night with me, my oldest grandson, then age two, would wake up, look out the bedroom window, and exclaim, "It's not dark anymore!"

A miracle. Morning is a miracle. Another day has been given to you. It is a tabula rasa in a sense. You can fill it up with disagreeable chores and the resentful mutterings they generate. Or you can say, "Screw it!" and go hiking out by the lake, filling your day with sunlit ripples, assorted wildflowers and the plaintive cry of a redwing blackbird.

You can go to work and carry on the same old resentments you had yesterday and the day before, or you can create new possibilities for camaraderie.

You can eat the same things you always eat, or you can try a new food.

All this is easy to write, more difficult to carry out. Many of us are comfortable in our little ruts, afraid to jump off the treadmill.

For some of us, life seems to offer little in the way of possibility. Survival demands sameness -- backbreaking work in an eighteen-hour-a-day job, submission to a boss we hate, getting up before dawn, going home after dark. For some of us there is no new day -- just the same day over and over.

Some of us go to bed in pain, wake up in pain, and spend the day managing for our pain.

Some of us wake in a drowsy cucoon only to have it torn brutally apart by the memory of a tragedy that happened a few days before, or maybe even years before, when someone we loved died, or someone abandoned us or we lost our livelihood or the use of our limbs.

Nevertheless, morning is a miracle. The Aztecs knew this; they did not take the sun's return for granted. And, before we jump on the bandwagon to condemn human sacrifice, let us remember that all cultures, in one form or another, demand human sacrifice.

I suspect that, despite the Aztecs' conviction, the sun probably doesn't care if human beings are alive to greet it.

To me, this indifference of the universe to our existence is part of the miracle.

Today I wake up -- an old woman who, in twenty years or so, will probably be dead. My senses, though dulled, still function. They tell me my morning coffee tastes rich and strong. They tell me this Southwestern sky is bluer than blue can ever describe, that cherry trees swell like pink and white cumulous clouds, that the soft sounds of Sunday morning traffic probably mean that people are going to church.

Absurdly, incredibly, a whole new day was given to me...

when I woke up this morning.


  1. "Absurdly, incredibly, a whole new day was given to me...when I woke up this morning." The essence of gratitude.

  2. I love both the way you look at the world and the way you express it. Morning is a miracle. Perfect.