First thing, there is a choice. Feet on the floor, shoulder-popping stretch, shying eyes away from light. The coffee maker, obedient to its timer, finishes its work in the kitchen. In fifteen minutes we will find each other on the sofa, over mugs and steam.
The choice is what I’ll pour into the quarter hour before I fill those mugs. After I pad down the hall in a house still more night than day, will I wake the computer, check e-mail and the weather, or worse yet, the news? Will I blaze the new day into the dim room, blare its voices into the still air?
Or will I light a small flame, to nudge back the dark easily, lovingly? Will I breathe these last unspoken moments before conversation and toaster springs and middle school music? Will I tell the new day to wait just a little while longer, with the anticipation of savoring a present?
I alternate between these rituals, and while I always feel the wisdom of the latter, I choose the former often enough that its jangle is familiar.
But when I think about what to choose first, the way of quiet and pause seems like a subtle statement of faith, that a few serene moments to stretch into wakefulness and awareness will bear more fruit in the following hours than any “jump” I could get on my inbox or my planning.
A match and a candle, some breathing and some prayer say that the day is not something lurking to pounce on me as soon as it scents me on the morning breeze, but more like a long-awaited letter, to be unfolded and read slowly.