I woke up too early this morning so I stayed in bed, waiting for the first hint of light. When the sky put the stars to bed with a dove grey blanket, I began my morning routine. It is the same every day. First my bright pink, fleecy robe. I reach for it with need, wrap one side over the other, and tie the layers in place. Then I pad toward the ten-year-old shearling slippers that wait for me on the closet floor. I press the brew button on the coffee maker and choose my coffee cup with intention, either the Emily Dickinson or Amelia Earhart mug depending on my mood.
With coffee in hand I go outside, sit in my rocking chair, and watch the sunrise. This morning the sky was uncertain. Then I saw the reassuring silhouette of the formidable pine tree in our yard. It is one of the best parts of the sunrise show. Set before a milky sky, it looks like a giant shadow puppet. The needles fan out at the edges of limbs, creating soft sprays that you don’t see in daylight. There is a sweetness and a majesty in the image.
I noticed the clouds were confused. At first they looked like cotton balls stretched thin. Quickly they separated into grey masses heavy with rain and just as fast they looked relieved as sunlight trimmed the edges and the centers turned white. The sunrise finished on a hopeful note with white, fluffy clouds floating in a cerulean sky.
I will take this sunrise as a lesson in consciousness and a reminder that everything can change in an instant. As I move through the day I will take extra care to be aware and to store all the goodness I see. We need to store all the goodness we can, both to appreciate our days and to prepare ourselves for heartache.
The last few weeks in America have been shattering. My shoulders sink as I write this. I keep thinking about what to tell my children about the shootings across the United States, the massacre in France, and the exceptionally negative tone of the Republican convention. All I know to tell them is to be love. Love is powerful, faithful, forgiving, and courageous. If we can be a family of love, one day we’ll be part of a nation with a heart so big that hate and violence will be footnotes in our history.