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first fifteen

9:24 AM | sunday

“The whiteness of these waters is simple. They are elemental transparency. Like roundness, or silence, their quality is natural, but is found so seldom in its absolute state that when we do so find it we are astonished.”

(Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain)

The closest I get to silence is in the first 15 minutes of my day. A microwave says “good morning” from downstairs. A bathroom radiator hisses at me, trapped behind two closed doors. Morning wind tries to blow our house down, and fails. Roommates punish the glossed wooden floorboards with zero grace. Cars are late to work.

I lay swaddled in my comforter, a canvas of pinks and blues and flowery hues, as my hypnogogic state marries reality. This morning, I use my body clock as an alarm. No artificially-crafted song interrupting a dream that would have come true—I know it would—had my phone waited just five more minutes.

“5 More Minutes” my eye mask reads, and I’m beginning to wonder if it is truly dreaming which I yearn to prolong. Could I yearn for more silence, or the closest thing to it? Perhaps five more minutes with eyes not shut, but open, thanking the sun as She lays her morning blanket across my collarbone. Will She caress my soul today, reinvigorating me for another exhausting day to come? Just five more minutes of me—only, and completely me, at the center of my own, precious world—before I begin my today.

Is it such a tall request?

9:40 AM | monday

A light, light gray pours through the branches of that big backyard tree outside my window. A huge tree that I’ve never noticed prior, and yet, it’s really the only thing I see out my window.

The light is most blinding at the top left of my window—the sun must live up near that corner. From left to right, the light fades from an almost holy white, to a light light light grey, to a baby blue. What is that tree? Branches as black as they are brown, the tree seems as though it’s been around almost as long as the sun herself. No leaves, just black veins invading the sky. And yet, I am almost soothed by its invasion.

A drain pipe drips from the house next door. Must be from the snowfall yesterday that only amounted to three or four inches. Some storm.

The light has warmed my left shoulder, and it is time to join the world.

8:35 AM | tuesday

I need many more than five more minutes this morning.

Allow me to dwell right back into a spell, and I’ll see you around twelve.

8:26 AM | wednesday

A car engine revs. The tree truly does look angry today, and I can see it more clearly now in the misty morning air. Some dark green moss, patches of grey where the moss chipped off. Each tiny branch sprouting off bigger branches, like little wispy baby hairs, are now completely… there. Did they exist yesterday?

The light speaks for my energy this morning: groggy, still, longing.

9:42 AM | thursday

I feel totally refreshed. In fact, I’ve slept so well I feel a bit dazed, foggy, as if I’ve slept through yesterday’s morning, as well.

Light certainly pours into my sanctuary this morning, through the varicose veins of the backyard oak tree. I’ve noticed that it’s an oak tree; yes, perhaps a brother to the one who protected my childhood backyard. He does not move this morning. Is He still sleeping? Will the morning robin come wake him soon?

I wonder about last night’s decision to spend five weeks studying in London this summer. What will my morning window afford me overseas?

8:26 AM | friday

  • veins

  • She doesn’t warm me yet, but in an hour, She would

  • my grogginess makes me chilly

  • am I ready for this week?

  • branches quiver today—which jacket will I wear?

  • ceramic blue backdrop

  • branches waving “good morning” in their own language

  • cars rolling by—time for work.

9:31 AM | saturday

I roll over onto my left shoulder, letting the sunlight engulf my face down to my toes. The warmth invigorates me all over again. Grogginess, that monotone-minded state of fleeting positivity, has surrendered. Did it really think it stood a chance against the sun herself?

I do not want to talk about the oak tree today because He is so earthly and She is—undoubtedly—from somewhere we can only imagine. My alarm clock, morning blanket, and daily serotonin dose. As I write, She leaves to wake another chosen soul.

9:21 AM | another sunday

I dwell here in the stillness. Forty minutes pass and I am here, still, dazed, and enlightened.

I am barely conscious when it begins, the thoughts behind my eyes doing somersaults: Did I sleep past my alarm, or may I have perfectly guessed my required rest? I am answered by an artificial wind chime minutes later, and I reach to blindly tap my phone until the chimes cease. I dwell to the bathroom, over to the shades as I invite light in this morning, and right back into my dwelling.

Then the questions start rolling in and pulling back, like wondering waves on a shore line:

  • What will today bring?

  • Will it be miraculous, or yet another miraculously un-miraculous day?

  • What costume will I put on today?

  • Who has phoned me in my slumber?

  • What will I eat for breakfast?

  • Where will I wander this summer?

  • How is my grandmother doing, after her fall?

  • How is my brother doing—is he going to catch a break soon?

  • Am I late to start my day?

And then, and only then, the waves begin rolling back, not because they’re answered but because they’re running out of time, and breakfast needs to be made, and appointments need to be had, and I will return to the waves tomorrow, at this similar time, to let them down once again.

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