One late autumn morning a few years ago, I woke up to the sun rising in the east into a pink haze of clouds over a lake of utter stillness. The air was colder than usual, which wasn’t saying much that year, after a fall of above average temperatures. But I could see my breath and the grass by the lake was sparkling with frost. The water was like glass, the surface broken only by a tiny duck that had decided to stick around these parts for a little longer before heading south for the winter. As the sun’s rays gathered strength, I looked into the western sky to see the sort of vibrant blue that only shows up once in awhile, usually when I’ve gone outside on days when I think I’d rather stay in. There is something about pushing yourself to leave the comfort of a warm house on an autumn morning that provides rewards you wouldn’t otherwise receive, I suppose. At any rate, instead of sipping coffee and scrolling through emails that morning, I stood on a frosty dock and watched a duck glide over misty waters as the sun crept higher into the sky.
More often than I’d like to admit I spend my mornings looking at a screen or going straight into whatever task needs to be done first to get the day’s list accomplished. (Maybe you can relate.) But when I go straight from bed to a screen or task on the list, I miss the gift of witnessing a new day coming into being. I miss seeing my breath mix with the breath of the earth. I miss noticing the other forms of life that add depth and diversity to my experience in this human life. I miss being fully rooted in my everyday existance when the first thing I do is give my attention to a screen.
I’d rather be fully rooted in the life right in front of my face in real time. I’m not saying that screens and to-do lists don’t have have value. Of course they do. Throwing the iPhone in the lake and clearing the calendar isn’t the answer.
(well, wait…let me think about that….)
Joking aside, what I’m saying is that I do better if I can at least start a new day grounded in the reality I can touch, smell, and taste. When I start my mornings with wild air and fading starlight.
What if you walked outside to see the last of the late autumn stars fade into the dawn once a week? Or gave your attention to the moss on the north side of the tree by your driveway, instead of scrolling instagram while you waited for the bus with your kiddo? There is so much to be found by breathing into the here and now. By stepping outside to witness a new day being born. By reclaiming the basic truths that always find their way home again.
I think I’ll make a point to ensure my mornings are full of wild air and fading starlight.Tweet
Will you join me?
This post is a modified excerpt from the WORK chapter in 12 Tiny Things: Simple Ways to Live a More Intentional Life.
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