Saturday, September 8, 2012
An Ordinary Morning
I try not to think about the list of unfinished work on my desk at school, or the pile of correcting I brought home, or the new reading adoption I begin teaching on Monday. I try not to worry about the kids whose stories have begun to emerge more clearly and who I'm already wondering if I'll be enough for. But it was these thoughts that awakened me, and they cling to me, like the spiderwebs I walk into on Toby's walks these days.
The house is blessedly quiet. Walt still sleeping. Toby and Emma back to sleep. I do some laundry, sweep the floors, but then can't settle into any of the many tasks awaiting. As I stand, trying to decide what to do next, a glimpse of color catches my eye. The sky on the other side of the kitchen window shows the faintest blush possible. Just enough to draw me outside.
The air is surprisingly warm for a September dawn, but I can feel the bite underneath—like a really good lemonade. I wander into the yard, toward the eastern sky, but a movement to the west redirects my course. It's the head of a runner bobbing on the other side of our field and neighbor, on the road that connects us with the highway. I barely have time to register a frisson of envy, when a much larger movement explodes into our field.
The runner must have startled the deer as they breakfasted on our neighbor's fine selection of fruit. We've been seeing deer more often in the last few weeks: a pair nibbling on my red twig dogwood, a yearling crashing out of the woods in front of me, a doe and her twins wandering across our back fence line. This morning, however, there are five. It looks like two does, a spike, and the very small twins we've seen before.
I watch them graze across the field, the fawns dashing ahead, and then back, until all five have moved into the trees the mark our eastern boundary. In all the years we've lived here, this is the first time I've seen five deer at the same time. And while deer are as ordinary as rabbits here, this sighting creates a huge space around my worries, lifting them away enough that I breathe freely for the first time in days.
After standing in the freshness of a new day for a while, wrapped in the wonder of the gift I'd just been given, I turned to go back in. Looking up, I saw a perfect half moon, with her friend Venus, both gazing down on me as though they were there just for me.
In every way measurable, this morning was ordinary. Yet the short time I was outside felt like an adventure of heart, soul, and spirit. An answer to a prayer I didn't know I'd sent. I walk into the dawned day now lighter, clearer, and with an energy that even sleep can't provide.
Curious about what message the deer might have brought me, I did some research and found these words: We can learn that the gift of gentleness and caring can help us overcome and put aside many testing situations. Only love, both for ourselves and for others, helps us understand the true meaning of wholeness. May you be blessed by them, the deer and the words, as much as I am this morning.