I was awakened before sunrise by giggles and Fern’s impersonation of the coffee grinder (With accompanying dance moves. Mind you, everyone was still in bed. Apparently, I’m not the only one whose first thought is “COFFEEEEE”.) . She then moved on to alternating between nursing and giving me zerberts. We rolled around in bed for a while, as Jeff feigned sleep to avoid any requests to get up and make said coffee. Then Fern grew quiet and gazed out the window. The sky was lighting up, the horizon and buildings bright pink. “The sun is rising,” I said. She signed for “more” and said “Naaaa? Naaa?” while pointing outside.
Ever since she was born, and since we have all been getting up in the dark, I have made an effort to create a ritual around greeting the day outdoors. Years ago I was told about the Dine custom of greeting the sunrise, facing East, giving thanks for another day. To begin the day with such a tone of appreciation and gratitude feels like the least I can do for the gift of life. Yet, until I had Fern and was forced to drag my ass out of bed at 5am, greeting the day remained on the list of “sometime, maybe later”. Well, sometime is now.
We step outside, preferably with coffee in hand, not always. I go barefoot, holding Fern close. We climb up to the top landing of the back stair case, where we have a breathtaking view of downtown, the bay and the sun. To our right, the sun sends out long rays of gold and pink fire, caressing the earth, the waters, the buildings, fog and sky. Our greeting begins with exclamations of delight…every morning it is different, every morning it is glorious. Fern points and squeals and our hands sweep across the horizon “Do you see? Look!”
Through my adventures in blogland, I stumbled across the Waldorf tradition of the morning verse. Every recitation is different, since I make it up on the spot, based on the day and what we may see before us, but it goes something like this:
Good Morning San Francisco
Good morning birds
Good morning bees
Good morning flowers
Good morning trees
Good morning cars
Good morning air
Good morning people
Good morning to you
Good morning to me
Good morning dear world
and all that can be
In all honesty, the end of the verse usually trails off into the bushes of words that I can’t rhyme. And the above example is a little Mr. Rodgers. Yet in the moment, singing to the early sky feels simple, appropriate and sweet. You’d be a little Mr. Rodgers too, if your daughter was squeezing your neck and pressing her cheek against yours.
I gripe a lot in these posts, about my lack of sleep and pre-dawn rising. Getting up in the cold and the dark, long before I would prefer, is definitely excruciating. What I have yet to speak to is the way that seeing the sunrise, every morning, makes my heart soar. Just a moment of contemplation, as the day begins, that feels refreshing and profound. Fern and I look for the birds flying across the sky, as they leave their place of evening rest to begin the day’s search for food and companionship. This morning she called back to the old crow man, perched on top of the school next door, echoing his “Rawk. Rawk. Rawk.” Then we would turn towards the garden on the other side of us, so she could talk back in high pitched squeeks to the resident hummingbird guardian.
Every morning that we do this, I fall in love with the world. Not a bad way to start the day.
(Photo by Rosspilot)
I hope the sun is rising in your heart, and the weekend dawns bright for you.