Early

It’s not the first time I’d tagged a morning: “Tomorrow I will walk early.”

I’ve been waking around six these last few weeks (you’d think, with the time change, I’d be waking an hour later, but no, not me). I doze on a little bit; sometimes (often) Gabriel comes in to cuddle and sleep another hour or two. I woke promptly at six. No Gabriel. No Jonah. The morning stars had aligned. All I had to do was swing my legs out of bed. The floor was cold, so I moved.

John immediately asked, “Are you okay?” I was already dressed—peculiar behavior on my part. Dawn was an hour away. Sophie and I set off.

Nothing amazing happened. It was dark, I was darkly dressed, and Sophie is black. Except for my ashy bed head, we merged with the last of night. It took a few blocks before I got past my coffee craving, just as the sky began to lighten. I noticed the high clouds. Sophie kept quiet pace, only stopping to eat one fast food wrapper. I like to think she relished the solitude as much as I.

I tried to pray, but they felt dry. Like the leaves I missed in the fall that still gather in piles on the drain by the house. So I stopped speaking the in my head. Maybe my walk was a prayer. I didn’t feel like thinking about it; I get all twisted up in this arena, and I let the thought go.

What occurred to me next (my best thoughts are the ones I don’t try to think) was much better anyway. For all of our street lights and alarms, our smart phones and daily schedules, there is an intrinsic order keeping us. It moves consistently, whether we recognize it or not. I don’t want to simply call it God. God’s energy is more close to what I mean. As the sun imperceptibly rises (until that last moment when it appears, and you wonder how you missed the moment again), the birds begin to call out. I heard geese honking, cardinals calling back and forth to each other, blue jays crowing like the bullies they are.

How to say it? It’s just that I remembered who runs it all. Growing up a good Baptist girl, I read the bible and memorized Scripture. It’s a habit I miss and would like to regain. But this short verse played in my head: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” The second half of that goes, “the world, and they that dwell therein.” Come to think of it, I didn’t memorize that verse as a girl; it’s a verse commonly read in Orthodox services (another reason to be in Church—what happens there takes seed).

And as spring is upon us, I am feeling for every seed, every hint of a seed I can find. The earth is full. The earth is the Lord’s. We dwell in the world. We dwell. As much as we scurry about, we remain in a particular place. The word dwell is related to the Middle Dutch dwellen, which means “stun, perplex.” I’ll leave it there—the fullness of what I recognized this morning early certainly stunned me plenty.

raccoon or skunk

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