I am sitting in the softness of the full moon waiting for the sun to rise.
There is the wind. Moving and moving through the trees like a reverent crowd passing. Some dried leaves scrape the pavement near my feet, gather up against the side of the house. The sunny-side of the house, I could say in an hour's time. But now, just the side of the house most open to the world. The side that looks out over the woods my neighbors claim as theirs, over woods and the darker-colored trees that mark the river. But I'm imagining those woods, that river.
I can't see any of that this morning. This morning I am trying to see.
All I see are the sharp shapes of the nearest and tallest Douglas fir, their jagged serration against the paling sky. Faraway, the lights of Portland make a false dawn. The real dawn goes stretching up more wide and high, more darkly red than bright. A bright stripe across the eastern sky above a brooding band of gray. Bright and dark both tingeing redly more and more, each time I look up to see. I have to look up to see.
I have to keep bending my laptop's overbright face down, half-closing it over my fingers. I bend my computer's face down to shine on the keys so I can see them and to let my eyes come back into tune with the real light growing all around me. I am doing this literally. I am doing this symbolically.
Meanwhile the lights of the city keep pulsing restlessly. Small in this sweep of sky, but the city draws the eye. There is almost a rhythm to the random sweeps of lights, almost the jittery syncopation of Gershwin. Above them, the lights of airplanes buzz like yellow wasps until they break away into the darker west and turn into impatient stars trailing after their mother Moon.
It's October and has been for a dozen or half a dozen hours, depending how you count the hours of your day.
But I'm waiting for it to begin. This new day, which could be any day, but resonates with me for reasons I want to understand. Which is why I'm standing here, sitting here, watching the sun rise. The sun rises too slow for me to watch. But moment by moment I can tell it's coming on more and more. The morning never stops approaching. A giant snail, iridescent, moving irresistibly.
The birds begin to fly. A flock curling overhead, writing invisible letters against the sky. I should know what they are and do not. Small birds like black letters that change before I can read them.
They wheel around the brighter warming circle overhead. Watching them hungrily sweeping the sky, I guess their word is nothing more mystical than BREAKFAST.
Which word is now put on me, now that YoungSon comes out to join me. Now that the first, "Oh Mom, how cool!" changes to, "Can I sit in your lap?" changes to singing along with, "Then wake up! and do something more ... ," changes to, "Let's go inside. Come on. Please. I'll take this for you. You're coming in, right?"
The sky is bright as day. Day claims me.
"I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes
Down all that glory in the heavens to glean . . ."
Gerard Manley Hopkins
October: "Keeping Time"
1. attend the sunset
2. play piano at evening
3. sleep when it is night
4. witness the sunrise
5. sing in the morning
6. work the day's work when it is day
7. prepare and keep a real sabbath
(touchstone text: The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, by Judith Shulevitz)