Sunday, November 26, 2006

Morning light

My bedroom window faces northeast, and if you look out you see a bald spot in the horizon (owing to the parking lot to our apartment complex and, further along that vector which starts at my window, the campus of the University of Georgia) which cradles the morning's first sun. When that sun makes its daily appearance there, pushing its way even through my mini-blinds, even through my heavy eyelids, I am hopelessly aroused from my night's sleep, regardless of whether I tumbled into bed eight hours earlier or three.

I don't entirely mind. I see beauty during that first hour of sunlight that many people only read about or view in photographs. I can hear daylight take its first breaths; I can observe the sky blooming with light that only becomes harsher, hotter, heavier as the day ages.

A part of me loves my mornings, though there is another sluggish side that revels in letting my eyelids droop shut for another hour that, in that snoozing reverie, feels like only a few blissful minutes. I am reading a book (an early Christmas gift from my dear and doting Bob) called In the Morning: Reflections From First Light by Philip Lee Williams, and it contains some of the most beautiful language about morning that I have ever had the occasion to read. I recommend it to anyone who wants a deep and many-faceted account of morning--what it means aesthetically, biologically, spiritually... simply. It is novel and lovely, prose wrought with the poetic. It has caused me to think much on morning's place in my ever-evolving life.

How I have always longed to be a morning person... But when you are in high school and college, your social world is constructed around night--theatre and midnight movies, 24-hour coffee shops and bars that close up shop at 2 AM, nightclubs and formal dances, rock concerts and winds symphonies. You stay up later and later out of necessity, until you find yourself on your nights off, sitting at the computer in the middle of the night, idly surfing the web and waiting until "bedtime." That is how, as young people, we are obliged to fashion our lives.

But for me, those who keep going until those early-late hours are missing something quite enchanting contained only in the quietude of morning. Early mornings were the preferred time for Jesus to commune with God the Father, when he "withdrew to lonely places and prayed." It is difficult to find lonely places in the bare and brazen light of day, and it is difficult to pray in the night watches when our biology tells us to be on guard against the dangers of the darkness. But in the morning there is peace and there is solitude. It is a time of day I often missed until I moved here to my beloved east-facing window, which never fails to alert me at the first shard of sunlight that a new day has arisen. I hope only that as I get older and more seasoned, I become more able to leave aside the folly of night life and rise to greet the new day with a growing eagerness.

2 comments:

KleoPatra said...

Well put and nice to get a little more of your background here, Laura. I work late nights, 4 p.m. until midnight. I usually can't fall asleep until almost 2 a.m. so as you might imagine, it is pressing for me to be up before 9 a.m. most mornings.

I also long to enjoy the early mornings, as do you, my mother (she's up by 5 a.m.) and father (he's up by 6) as well as my friend, Peter, who is up at 4:30 most mornings... and many, many others.

Alas, my hours at the newspaper have been such for 20 years and i'm pretty much used to them. But i still long to enjoy the early mornings... until then, i can just hear others' stories and wait for my time to come.

I can retire in, oh, about 25 years. :o) Then, just watch me!!

Thanks for sharing this. And i like that photograph. That sky and the trees... simply gorgeous.

laura jesser said...

Kleo, we do what we have to do, don't we? I used to be a waitress and I would often work from 2 PM until about midnight several nights a week... and so I would sleep in every morning I had the chance. It always felt "backward" to me; I never got used to it. I suppose if I had to do it long-term I would learn not to mind it.

On another note, I think there's something to be said for not following the schedule of every other living person in the world. My friend Monica is a nurse who works nights in a hospital in Orlando, and she loves it because she gets plenty of "Monica" time in the hours when she's awake and no one else is. Do you feel that way too?

Thanks for paying my "other" blog a visit! :)