"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Ordinary Morning

The darkness in the room tells me it's earlier than I want it to be on a Saturday morning, and a glance at the clock confirms: 3:30. I'm tired through and through, but there's no going back to sleep. I get up and start the day as I do every day. Feed Toby. Feed Emma. Make tea.

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.

http://www.shamanicjourney.com/article/6025/deer-power-animal-symbol-of-gentleness-unconditional-love-and-kindness


26 comments:

Linda Myers said...

A lovely reward for rising early.

Deb said...

Nature does it for me as well. It is a gift.

Stacy Crawford said...

The gift of nature always nutures the soul.

Richard said...

I'm a morning person myself, but not that early.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I get it. :)

Love,

Lisa

Sandi said...

I'm so glad your ordinary morning shimmered in extraordinary for a few moments. I'm being tugged awake earlier than I want these days as well, and you nailed it with these words, "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."

It's what we do, worry and wonder, and pray, though often they are prayers without words, just the deep sigh of will I be enough; let me please be enough.

I'm moved to tears, as this is the hard work of teaching, not the lessons, not the papers, it's those fragile and breakable kids, some already so broken you wonder if the pieces can ever find their way back together again.

Sending you warm thoughts of love and peace and strength to be all you need to be.

Mrs Catch said...

What a lovely mental picture you gave me of the start to your day. But, holey moley, 3.30!!! Hope you don't have to go out tonight!

DJan said...

That has happened to me now and then, just being unable to go back to sleep, but I usually lay in bed resisting getting up. Your beautifully written post took me out the door with you, watching the deer, the sky, and gratitude fills me now. Thank you, Deb.

Dee said...

Dear Deb, your morning was one that I think of as transcendent. A true living in the moment and receiving with open palms the gift being given. You know, your posts always inspire me. They provoke me into long thoughts about Mystery and how it lives itself out in our lives. That's no small thing, that your writing lifts my spirits and uplifts my mind and heart.

Long ago, a psychiatrist encouraged me to be "gracious" to myself. I think the words you quoted were saying the same thing. Thank you. Peace.

yaya said...

It's amazing what goes on while we sleep! You were given a nice gift this morning!

kario said...

I'm reading "The Untethered Soul" right now and the first chapter talks about those incessant thoughts we have that keep us up at night (or in the morning). The author says that we need to learn that we are not those thoughts - simply the observer of them. The witness. And, as such, when we think there is a problem, we ought to not assume it's true, but rather ask the question, "what part of me thinks this is a problem?"

Sounds like Nature intervened in your thoughts to draw you away and remind you you are the observer. What a lovely way she had of doing it.

Love.

Amber said...

Ahh, so lovely. And I'm so happy you looked up the meaning of Deer. I was just going to go look for you.

;)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Beautiful. And I, too, was taken by your thoughts of children whose stories are beginning to emerge. You help as many as you can, but I'm sure you are haunted by the ones who slip through.

#1Nana said...

I've felt that warm air with the hint of a cold bite...your words took me there.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Aren't blessings even more wonderful when they're unexpected? And then you shared to multiply. What a great teacher. Hugs

Cheryl said...

As always a lovely post. I assume the deer are natives there? I occasionally see them here, but they are escapees from deer farms - no native deer in Australia. You asked about illnesses other than Q fever with the kangaroo raising - only mental and physical fatigue :-) Trying to get to more blogging - work so gets in the way :-) Best wishes.

deborahjbarker said...

Love this line: "I can feel the bite underneath—like a really good lemonade" what a wonderful way to describe the September air! I love those moments when things are made clear. We don't get as many deer in our garden as we did before we put up the railings at the bottom. I once planted several pots of geraniums in readiness for a garden party the next day. I admired the gorgeous blooms in their pots before bed and woke to find every head nibbled off and a family of deer, three or four in all, high-tailing it over the back fence. I had to admire their audacity. ;-)

Laura said...

so, very tender and beautiful...it has been too long since my last visit dear Deb.

Mark Lyons said...

:) I wish I could make the smile larger! I loved the power of your words...and the answer to the prayer lifted unspoken.

I love you

Mark

van fuentes said...

It's very inspiring. And I agree with that. Nature is a gift from God, so we should take care of it. Thanks for your hardwork. I love reading your blog.

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Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

You are really lucky to have found those creatures and sense your place near the. Peace.

Terra said...

Hi, I came over from Retired English Teacher's blog, where she wrote about meeting you in person. I like your G.K. Chesterton quote and love being outdoors, where I take walks along the bay.

Linda Reeder said...

I have finally found the time to track you down. You are the last of the Vashonistas for me to get to know. As I was the one person invited to the weekend that declined, I have wanted to get acquainted with all of you who I didn't already follow.
In reading this post I see that I missed meeting an amazing person. What's oddly coincidental is that it is 2:00AM. I'm sitting in my recliner with the cat happily sleeping on my lap, welcoming the unusual night time company, and sharing my lap with my lap top. I could not sleep. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping this week. Insomnia seems to come in waves. But fortunately I am a retired teacher so I no longer have to be ready to perform magic in the morning.
I hope by now the September surge in brain activity has calmed and you are sleeping better.
I'll be looking forward to your future postings.

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