Let’s Begin this Day
Oh, the existential crisis of it all. Am I odd in my daily questioning of purpose? The history and plight of our existence? The why’s and wherefore’s of this reflection I observe? This being? The physical. And the verb. To be. Shakespeare offered an option. Or not. To be, that is. Oh. I just watch the sunrise each morning.
The bees sing in the abelia from dawn to dusk
their flight patterns swipe across the pale pink bursts
as if they were buttering the bush with their buzz
layering sweet cream across light brown wheat toast
as big as my thumb these dining creatures
make breakfast outside my window.
When thrown into “awake” in the middle of the night, and my head seems to have hit my crumpled, moist pillow like a hardball into a well-worn leather mitt: Ow. No! Darn it, not again. It is only 3:27 am. Or 2:01 am. Or 4:10 am and just a half hour before the alarm. I know the rule, “Don’t look at the time” because it makes it harder to go back to sleep. Or to be awake. Full of judgment. And stress. Fighting with time. “Only three hours? Why did I wake up now? I don’t even have to pee. I normally sleep like a rock.” Everything, then, is tossed onto the proverbial table and up for discussion. Sleep patterns. Wake patterns. Life patterns. Life purpose. Uh-oh. Here we go. And that is when I truly wish I was Romeo’s sister, and not his owner.
The old dog runs back and forth and back across
the blue-fenced yard each morning chasing
phantom tennis balls or those teasing bees
he’s like a pillowcase in a determined breeze
flapping after wind he cannot fetch or catch
anymore, an alpha champion aged out of the game
master now at ignoring two blown knees
still thrilled by bumbles, and stilted leaps
Awake or asleep is not anything he judges. Nor is to be or not. Nor is life, death, existence. Dogs do not have existential crises. They want food, walks, water, and love. In that order. Oh, to be a dog. They never feel to be the speck that they are as I do. Over and over until when I look in the mirror I am surprised at how large I am. How my speck-ness is magnified. Self importance floods right into the glass, looking at the big-ness of me. So much skin to consider. So many, many bones. Where did I get all of these bones? I consider my reflection, and my reflecting on it, for far, far too long.
The cat considers the door for a very long while, she puts
her paw upon it, like a wounded friend offering sympathy,
comfort, then ‘no,’ more like, ‘nah,’ she pulls her furry
foot back , cleans it, scraping away such nonsense
with her tiny serrated tongue, as if caked with grit
she saws her mitt, then decides, ‘no this door is an enemy,’
and she extends ten claws like pitchforks and readies
to wage war against the solid oak, certain victory.
I track how many times I ask the unanswerable and tire of not knowing. No wonder religion or politics fill people with zeal. They’ve created the answers I refuse. As exhausting as it to ponder it all, and the wonder of it all, I prefer to be surprised, and soothed by the sure gestures of kindness. To be enraged at calculated acts of evil. And not know any more than that. As tired and as sleepless as I may be, it is better than believing in any explanation I could have conjured, something handy for blame, judgment, sense, determination, or passive prayer. No, I strive to be excuse-less. To believe in what I can create: art, breakfast, strong coffee. Children. Kindness.
Mostly, to maintain the surprise. The glory and and the awe. To be struck by it again and again. No fast explanation or answer. For as soon as I grow accustomed to this human-ness, I will wish to “not be.” To be suits me. To be surprised by all of it. Awake or asleep. Again and again.
The woman visits each window and door each
morning, stands on the front, then back, porches
nodding to the horizons like the master of the parade
of day that approaches, approving its beginning
and reconciling the surprise: it has happened again!
Offering this day, these tiny prayers, and one long deep breath
then the water boils on cue, ready for the Aeropress.
This lovely photograph is from this lovely blog http://www.theorangebee.com/2016/06/12/attract-pollinators-garden/