Why I Wake Early

This photograph of early dawn and Mary Oliver‘s poem “Why I Wake Early” greeted me early this morning, as did Aldous Huxley‘s wisdom about walking more lightly, thanks to David Kanigan‘s “I Can’t Sleep” post.

Photograph by spanishlandia re-blogged on Live & Learn

I’ve been feeling heavy lately. Not on the bathroom scales — that weight is down — but on the scales of the soul, the psyche, my spirit. That weight is up. Every day I get heavier. I don’t know what to do. Maybe you don’t either. The news is dark and heavy. The UN climate change report just gave us a decade to act before we trip over the edge of global warming. These are scientists with no vested interest in producing conclusions that would make us smile. Meanwhile, as the latest storm weighs heavily on the hearts of people across the country, a President who insists that climate change is a hoax calls the press and television camera crews into the Oval office to show his concern and assure television viewers that he’s on top of it.

Mike (a retired federal investigator) and I catch a bit of the live coverage. The President is sitting behind his desk. Two members of his Administration are standing near his desk. The President crosses his arms over his chest. “He’s defensive,” says Mike. “He’s hiding something. He’s feeling threatened. He’s feeling exposed.” Later in the day, while Hurricane Michael storms its way through the South, the President boards Air Force One for another photo with a cheering crowd in Erie, Pennsylvania. Before the crowd, the cameras again focus on the President. His arms no longer fold across this chest. His hands are free. His face is smug. I feel sick. I feel heavy. I go to bed. I toss and turn. I can’t sleep.

This morning I rise at 4:00 A.M., go downstairs to make a pot of coffee and check my emails. David Kanigan’s post on  I Can’t Sleep: Live & Learn is waiting to greet me. I open it. The beauty of the photograph lightens my spirit, chases away the heaviness. I read Mary Oliver’s “Why I Wake Early” and Aldous Huxley’s words, written just for me, or so it seems, and, maybe just for you.

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them” — Aldous Huxley.

I’ve finished my third cup of coffee and determine to try not to try so hard, to walk more lightly, even when feeling deeply.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, October 11, 2018.

2 thoughts on “Why I Wake Early

  1. Oh so hard to do. I was awake at 3:00 s.m., suffering for the children torn away from their parents and living in what are essentially concentration camps. I always thought Americans were caring and generous, so why are the media not telling one story each day about one child and his or her family? I believe people would be up in arms. Instead, the news is failing to reveal the truth in all its passion and ugliness. What’s stopping it? hmm… Sorry it’s hard to “lightly cope.”

    Don’t call me at 3:00 am while you’re drinking your coffee, because I’m in airplane mode, avoiding additional input, hoping to sleep.

    Problem: It makes it hard to keep my eyes open to edit “My Father’s House,” the first book of which is almost ready for readers. Know anyone?

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    • Okay, I promise. I won’t call you at 3:00 A.M. Four…maybe. Yes, Mona, it’s horrible, and it’s hard to cope, hard to tread more lightly when you want to stomp.

      So is My Father’s House now in the hands of its publisher?

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