Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Cafeteria

Our cafeteria is kind of loud at lunchtime. A little too loud for my taste, although the alternative for school cafeterias isn’t that attractive either.

When I first came to SC back in the mid-eighties, the cafeteria at my old school had a giant stoplight – far larger than any you would see at an intersection. It was connected to a sound-measuring device that changed the color from green to yellow automatically when the volume got to a certain level. It did so every single day. Then the sound would come down a little. Gradually, as more children entered the cafeteria, the light would shift to yellow more often. Eventually a blaring siren would sound, the light changing to brilliant red and the cafeteria was thrust into absolute silence. And I mean absolute. There were monitors of course and if they caught you talking… It wasn’t pretty. That light had to have been expensive. The lunchroom monitors would have cost a lot too. Silent school lunch does not come cheap.

Then in the early nineties I moved to another more affluent school. The teachers at this school sat up on the stage in the cafeteria/auditorium, looking down the six or eight steps into the seating area. This school ran on a tight schedule. We had to be standing at the door at a very precise time. There were seven second grades and our times were one minute apart. And if we were ever late we were fussed at. While we had no stoplight, the way they kept the noise level down was to keep the first part of lunch completely silent. Not a word, not a whisper. And if kids were caught talking during quiet lunch they were sent to the steps of the stage to finish the lunch period alone, banished from the kingdom, balancing their lunch trays on their knees or eating from their lunch bags or boxes sitting on the steps. Only when there were a few minutes left were the kids allowed to whisper to each other. And it was a whisper, or else.

We are far more laid back at my school where there is not a minute-specific schedule. We just try to get through the middle school halls before the big kids change classes. We have no stoplight or time of total silence. It is far closer to how we eat as a family at home. And we talk. And talk.

Now there are some disadvantages. Often children have not finished their lunch when we have to leave. I assume that if kids leave the cafeteria without finishing and during the afternoon they become hungry a few times, they’ll eat more and talk less. There are also occasions when it gets so loud with conversation and laughter that it’s hard to hear. And with my 32 years in classrooms and cafeterias, my hearing isn’t what it used to be. At times when it is too loud and lip reading doesn’t work I’ll just shrug my shoulders and shake my head when someone speaks to me. TRANSLATION: You’ll have to tell me when we get out of here – I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

I jotted down miscellaneous bits of conversation I overheard for a couple of days:

Are we allowed to trade food?

You’re lucky, your mom always writes you a love letter.

It’s always peanut butter and jelly!

I’m half country and half my mom… Well, half my dad too.

Hey, Alex has the same lunchbox as you.

Can I go give Mrs. Barnes a hug for her birthday?

Hey! Where’s my spoon? My mom always packs me a spoon.

I feel like I’m having a heart attack!

I’ve got this slime at home that looks just like your yogurt. Yeah? Well I bet it doesn’t taste as good as this.

How much longer before we go to recess?

Hey, when you were talking a food piece came out and got on me.

I could take you with my little pinky.

I have a science kit with invisible ink. Why would you ever use invisible ink? No one would see it!

Can I go hug my sister?

I’m trying to eat but he keeps making me laugh.

My grandfather is older than your grandfather.

Ashley’s been alive for eleven years. Well I’ve been alive since I was born.

I swallowed a chip and it stabbed me in my throat!

I didn’t do it. Yes you did too!

Your brother Cody has the cooties!

Something just landed in my hair. It felt like a bug.

Me and Ethan are planning a snow sleepover but it has to snow first.

Hey! My sandwich is all smushed. How much time before we go?

Can you open my milk?

My juice is frozen solid.

Can I go get a spoon?

Hey, Mr. O. Watch what I can do with my eyes. Hmmm. I’m not sure that’s good for you.

Wait, you said you’d sit by me.

No saving seats.

Are you gonna eat all those grapes?

Are we allowed to eat candy at lunch? ‘Cause she’s got candy. It’s not candy, it’s fruit snacks.

Can we have indoor recess? It’s too hot outside.

Can I tell the class that there are two minutes left?

Cover your mouth!

Can I go get a napkin? My milk spilled. You need at least three napkins.

Say it don’t spray it!

Yuck! Chew with your mouth closed.

While it gets a little loud at times, I prefer the natural spirit of having lunchtime that is real. It is a time with children that is fairly free of the restrictions of the classroom and my authority. Conversation is easy and kids learn to get along without adult controls or restrictions. Kids can just be kids.

The teachers used to sit away from the children at a table by ourselves and sort of watch the children from afar. That was important too. But honestly, I prefer to sit with my kids. If there have been some rough interactions in the classroom, I try to sit next to the ones having a hard day. When someone is feeling blue for something happening at home, I’ll be sure to sit nearby. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes just the proximity helps – companionable silence works too. We talk about everything: what we’re doing for the weekend, what’s going on at home, our pets, the weather, our lives. And we make each other laugh. And this sometimes intimate sharing is one of the reasons I work with little ones. They are so open, so clear, uninhibited, honest, unguarded. And if I missed a belt loop or have food in my teeth someone will tell me. With no embarrassment. And if a friend has buttoned his shirt wrong, I’ll tell him. We share problems, fears, joys and accomplishments. We look into each other’s eyes and share who we really are. Even though it is not a planned lesson or instruction, there is a lot of learning going on. There aren’t intentional educational standards being addressed during lunch in the cafeteria, but the fellowship is just about important as any other time of day.

Many times over the year parents have told me that their kids’ favorite times of the day are lunch and recess. I can’t say it’s not true for me too. Who else gets to hang out with twenty-two best friends every day and get paid for it? Sometimes – not every day, but a lot of days – I am amazed at how wonderful it is to make a living teaching little ones.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Party

This little segment, originally posted in September of 2007, was about my group in Rwanda giving a little party of sorts for the orphans at The Sisters of Mother Teresa's near Kigali. Thinking back on it, the party was partly to make us feel good by making a contribution to the desperate children there. I do think we brought them some fun, some brief time away from their everyday lives.

The funny thing is, I don't believe they felt poor. The children and adults who found their way to Mother Teresa's were lucky. They received food and fellowship and someone to care for them. They were the lucky ones as there are plenty of folks there who did have these things.

We heard laughter, saw smiles and dancing and the universal signs of friendship. I am so blessed to have been a part of this time away from my routine and slip into the lives of these beautiful people. I could never convey the respect and admiration I have for the Sisters.

Playing and singing for the children at Mother Teresa's.

So we came back several hours later with all kinds of sugary treats. Fanta (soda), biscuits (bis – kweet) and big suckers. There were suitcases filled with clothes and necklaces which were kind of like little toys. About fifty kids were seated on concrete benches singing beautiful African songs. The adults in charge would not let them get up at first. I recognized some of the children from our visit earlier in the day.

We gave out the treats. I played guitar. These children (music video The Forgotten of Rwanda) didn’t know English or any of the songs I played but they seemed to rock out at the instrumentals. Mostly blues. That’s sort of universal I guess. They jumped up and slapped the guitar with sticky fingers and pulled on the strings. That part was tremendous fun. The grownups who worked there kept insisting that everyone sit down. They eventually gave up and let the kids get loose. One kid, about five or six but hard to tell, could really dance. He spun and swayed and jumped in a free form style. He was having so much fun moving to the music. He was uninhibited and danced the wild dance of elation. He looked very handicapped. One eye was nearly closed. It looked surrounded by scar tissue. Teeth everywhere. But he danced with wild and free abandon.

I went to another area after a while and played for some of the adult women. Widows of the genocidemostly. They were seated on a low brick wall outside of their cramped and crowded rooms. Maybe fifteen or twenty. Mid-twenties to pretty old. Some were sort of dazed and had to be led around. A few really attended and clapped when I finished each song. I sang some blues and “Amazing Grace”. Slow. As loud as I could sing outdoors. Several women gave me an appreciative look and spoke in Kinyrwanda. One woman came up to me and clasped my hand to her chest.

After we had been there a pretty short ime the nuns whisked us away. They seemed relieved to be rid of us. I don’t think I blame them. We blew in, jacked up the kids on sugar and trinkets, hyped them up with crazy music and dancing and left them to the difficult task of getting them settled into sleep. In a way it was thoughtless. I do think it was fun but when I looked at it from the nuns point of view… I gave the Mother Superior some money as we left. She did not seem grateful in the way that I thought she would. I knew that they could use the money but the Sister didn’t seem to want it. I surely couldn’t read what she was thinking but there was no thanks for the party or the money or the suitcases of clothes, only relief when we left. Again, I don't understand so I cannot question.

There was a weird energy between her and Immaculee and Tim (Immaculee’s agent) and Richard (I’s old friend and cameraman). I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of that but it was an important day for me. I realize that this day didn’t make a real difference in the lives of these children and we probably made the adult care givers lives a little more difficult. It seemed to be a hassle to them. It did make a difference to the others I am traveling with and to me. How much I take for granted. When I am hungry I go the cupboard. When I need comfort, Heidi, I wrap my arms around you or hug Devin or Colin. When I am cold I put on a sweatshirt; when I am uncomfortably hot I turn on the air conditioning. There are so many who live with so much less. There are so many who don’t even have a hand to cling to.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Good Man- In the Worst Sense of the Word

I just got back from church. It’s early afternoon but I was lucky enough to play in the band this morning so I stayed for both services. We go to East Lake Community Church in Irmo, SC. It is a smallish church by local standards. All the services are contemporary, meaning there is pretty much a rock band leading praise and worship. And today it rocked.

During the service there were two special speakers, a man and a woman. In real life they are husband and wife. They came onto the stage in character, lights dimmed, and walked into spotlights. They took turns speaking about a crisis each was having. She was talking about a failed marriage, he about being a young man with preschool age children who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Both were speaking to God, telling their stories, asking, “Why me?” Both were angry and confused and earnest.

It was so real. At rehearsal, early in the morning before the first service, I heard them say their lines for the first time. And it was hard. Even though I knew they were acting – it was easy for me to suspend my disbelief because I know lots of people whose marriages have failed. I had a serious brush with cancer last spring. I asked some of the same questions.

Their three kids had tagged along and were sitting out in front during rehearsal. At one point their oldest son (I think he’s 6) came running up to the stage with his arms up, crying and needing to be held by Mom. The parents swooped in and hugged up all of the kids assuring them that they were just play-acting. I don’t think the little ones understood the words exactly, but the emotions came through clearly. It was hard not to tear up myself as we could all overhear Mom and Dad comforting the children because their wireless microphones were still on.

Church was so moving this morning. The songs were all very thoughtfully selected. The message one that all could relate to. It was just so real. It made us think so much. There weren’t too many dry eyes in the house. It was religion at its finest.

Then I logged onto the computer and checked out Nicholas Kristof’s latest op-ed piece about how ignorant most of us are about the world’s religions. We know about people ‘s faiths who are different than us basically through sound bites and news about religious extremists of all religions who present a negative, even violent view. We hear about suicide bombings, stonings, walls being built, missiles being fired, women who must be completely covered in public, death threats, preachers claiming to know the will of God so clearly that they can designate deaths from natural disasters are HIS just punishments, supposed men of God who want to make a public show of burning another religion’s holy book.

And it is too bad. It seems the vocal minorities often do that. Kristof made his point by giving a quiz, one that I failed. Try it for yourself.

1. Which holy book stipulates that a girl who does not bleed on her wedding night should be stoned to death?
a. Koran
b. Old Testament
c. (Hindu) Upanishads

2. Which holy text declares: “Let there be no compulsion in religion”?
a. Koran
b. Gospel of Matthew
c. Letter of Paul to the Romans

3. The terrorists who pioneered the suicide vest in modern times, and the use of women in terror attacks, were affiliated with which major religion?
a. Islam
b. Christianity
c. Hinduism

4. "Every child is touched by the devil as soon as he is born and this contact makes him cry. Excepted are Mary and her Son.” This verse is from:
a. Letters of Paul to the Corinthians
b. The Book of Revelation
c. An Islamic hadith, or religious tale

5. Which holy text is sympathetic to slavery?
a. Old Testament
b. New Testament
c. Koran

6. In the New Testament, Jesus’ views of homosexuality are:
a. strongly condemnatory
b. forgiving
c. never mentioned

7. Which holy text urges responding to evil with kindness, saying: “repel the evil deed with one which is better.”
a. Gospel of Luke
b. Book of Isaiah
c. Koran

8. Which religious figure preaches tolerance by suggesting that God looks after all peoples and leads them all to their promised lands?
a. Muhammad
b. Amos
c. Jesus

9. Which of these religious leaders was a polygamist?
a. Jacob
b. King David
c. Muhammad

10. What characterizes Muhammad’s behavior toward the Jews of his time?
a. He killed them.
b. He married one.
c. He praised them as a chosen people.

11. Which holy scripture urges that the "little ones" of the enemy be dashed against the stones?
a. Book of Psalms
b. Koran
c. Leviticus

12. Which holy scripture suggests beating wives who misbehave?
a. Koran
b. Letters of Paul to the Corinthians
c. Book of Judges

13. Which religious leader is quoted as commanding women to be silent during services?
a. The first Dalai Lama
b. St. Paul
c. Muhammad

1. b. Deuteronomy 22:21.

2. a. Koran, 2:256. But other sections of the Koran do describe coercion.

3. c. Most early suicide bombings were by Tamil Hindus (some secular) in Sri Lanka and India.

4. c. Hadith. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet to be revered.

5. All of the above.

6. c. Other parts of the New and Old Testaments object to homosexuality, but there’s no indication of Jesus’ views.

7. c. Koran, 41:34. Jesus says much the same thing in different words.

8. b. Amos 9:7

9. all of them

10. all of these. Muhammad’s Jewish wife was seized in battle, which undermines the spirit of the gesture. By some accounts he had a second Jewish wife as well.

11. a. Psalm 137

12. a. Koran 4:34

13. b. St. Paul, both in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, but many scholars believe that neither section was actually written by Paul.

I guess my point is that we are all too eager to condemn others whom we know very little about. There is so much goodness in all major religions. And there are major discrepancies as well. There is this crazy guy here in SC named Maurice Bessinger. He owns a chain of BBQ restaurants and sells BBQ sauce. There are booklets in his restaurants available that say that the Bible was totally OK with slavery. Scripture is quoted to back up his point. The same Bible in which Jesus stated,

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV, John 13:34-35)

It is hard to reconcile the two. There are a few references in the Old Testament to, “An eye for an eye”. When one person injures the eye of another he is instructed to give the value of his own eye in compensation. This seems in direct contradiction to the passage in Matthew where Jesus says, “you have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, do not resist and evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.”

I have to agree with Kristof when he says, “Religion is more complicated than it sometimes seems, and that we should be wary of rushing to inflammatory conclusions about any faith, especially based on cherry-picking texts [and I would add here – the actions of religious extremists]. The most crucial element is perhaps not what is in our scriptures, but what is in our hearts.”

This all put me in mind of a brilliant David Wilcox song called “Good Man”. The lyrics are really thoughtful and inspiring, but you’ve got to buy this CD or mp3. It’s from an album called Vista.

cover of Vista

Good Man:
(David Wilcox)

Click this link then the play arrow for "Good Man" to hear him sing it.

Let me apologize in advance

For the way my friend behaves

He'll pick a fight and take a holy stance

He's so proud that he's so saved

I hope you don't judge Jesus

By the things my friend will say

He holds a bible like a dagger

And he twists it just that way

He just loves conversation - like a cat loves a bird

I guess he's always been a good man - in the worst sense of the word

The good knights went out to save the day

In the age of the crusades

A sharp sword on a tortured soul

They were sure the point was made

Any tool can be a weapon

If it's used with that intent

The devil's great at quoting scripture

And confusing what it meant

So all the evils done for Jesus - it is a history so absurd

But there will always be a good man - in the worst sense of the word

They 'jacked a plane to make a sneak attack

They were trained to die in flames

Their last words were to God above

Just to praise His holy name

For all the terror and destruction

They felt no sense of shame

You gotta wonder why religion

Can make people so insane

But their devotion was unquestioned - follow straight and never swerve

The devil always needs a good man - in the worst sense of the word

dwilcox 2176

We make it all so complex. My book is the word, yours heresy. My code is the only correct one. My Lord. My God. My Holy days. I am saved. You are condemned.

When creating our Rules for Living and Learning with my 2nd grade class this year, one child said that we should simply follow our conscience. If there is a God (and I DO believe), then God gave us a conscience to guide our behavior. All too often, we set aside what our heart says is right so we can focus on differences and find reasons to hate and condemn. Is it trite to say, “Listen to the children”?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ordinary Thoughts

This weekend I have some catching up to do. My good old friend Kevin wrote me a real letter the other day. It was beautiful. I called Heidi on my way home from work and she said that she opened it, thinking it was something else. She said, "I don't even know Kevin very well, but it made me cry." Kevin and his love have just had a baby and he knows what a wonderful life change that is. So I got me a letter to write. It's not something I can just dash off.

In the meantime, I am going to repost the very first piece I wrote for this blog in September of 2008. My friend George said I should have called it, "Three Angels and a Truck". He's probably right.

The other day a cool thing happened. I guess it isn't just ordinary. My wife and some new friends and my son and his sweetie were helping a friend in distress. She was moving her things out of her estranged husband's place. It was hard. Not the work, the situation. She was incredibly sad. She and her husband had fixed this beautiful place up. It took years of backbreaking work. Yet, as our friend explained, it was all a labor of love.

It was a big old building. They had to tear it apart before rebuilding. Sweat. Tears. Years. The estranged husband was there while we were organizing, collecting dusty boxes, emptying out closets, getting fire ant bites. He was there sort of creeping around. Playing his symphonic music REALLY loud. We would catch peeks of him lurking.

Our friend was in pain. She took us on a lengthy tour of the place. It was magnificent. The work was brilliant, the attention to detail incredible. While there was still a lot to do on the home, her work there was finished. She was not only saying good bye to this home, this project, the years of labor and love she put into it. She was also saying good bye to years of marriage and commitment to a guy who wasn't nice for a really long time. There were lots of tears. While the morning became afternoon I was more and more angry with her husband and sadder and sadder for her. It was wretched.

In the early afternoon three guys came from Two-Men-And-A-Truck. To me they were sort of faceless. I'm embarrassed to say it but I was so absorbed in my friend's pain, and my anger at her husband, that I never even looked these men in the eye. While we had sort of organized things and pulled some of the boxes together, these three men did the real work. Dressers, wardrobes, stuffed dusty boxes. They did the physical work and I didn't even say a word to them. These strong young men were putting their backs into the real labor, while we sort of huddled around our friend. We were doing our job. They were doing theirs.

After the truck was loaded we were getting ready for the long ride back to her new place. Three cars and the moving truck. One of the young movers said, "We need to circle up." I wasn't sure what he meant at first. "C'mon, man. Why don't you go get the lady? She needs a circle." I went to get our friend. As I walked up to the door she came out into the sunlight with red-rimmed eyes and wet cheeks. She had just been saying good bye to her dog who was staying behind with the home. The rest of our group were standing in a semi-circle. Waiting. When she came over, we all closed in and held hands. The Three-Men-And-Truck guy took off his hat. His head was shiny bald and sweaty. He tucked it under his arm and held hands with one of the other guys. The Three-Men closed their eyes and bowed their heads. The rest of us followed their lead.

"God," he said reverently. "Please send down your lovin' on this good woman. She's goin' through some hard times and she needs some of your love right now. Thank you, God, for these good friends who have gathered 'round to give her comfort. Please be sure that she sees some of your kindness and mercy real soon." Long pause. The other Three-Men guys nodded their approval.

"Thanks," our friend said quietly. "That was beautiful."

I was crying and I think some of the others were as well. The words were perfect. The sentiments exactly what were needed. The blessing so pure and sweet. Of course these good men had seen the pain and sorrow there. They were hot and tired, probably not all that well paid. And yet they gave back to all of us in a way that nothing else could.

We left that place soon after. It was one of those real times, one of those lessons about human worth and dignity that just jumped out at me. When I shared this little story with some friends it occurred to me that there are small important moments that happen all the time in my life. I work with little kids. I am married to my best friend and have two wonderful sons to fill my life with joy.

It was this bright little moment that made me think I should start another blog. This one will be a combination of Just Ordinary Thoughts and stories of a life. It will also contain short stories, song lyrics and bits of fiction that I have written over the years. Since I am a teacher, it will probably contain stories of wonderful children and the lessons they teach me.

So, here is the start of my story. I hope that it has some light for you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

To The Morning

I wake up early. I always have. It’s not exactly insomnia, although I have more than my share of sleepless nights. I just get up early.

On school nights I set my alarm for 5:05 AM. Most often I am lying awake when the alarm beeps, or I simply shut it off and slip out of bed trying not to wake up Heidi. On Saturdays it is the same deal. It may not be 5 AM, but usually it is not long after. It is a good time to be awake. By the time anyone else is awake in the house, I have usually checked email, checked for new blog posts, scanned the headlines on the internet (the paper doesn’t usually come until around 7). Maybe I’ll write, read a few chapters in my current book. I pet up the dog who then goes back to sleep – twitching and snorting in her rabbit chasing dreams.

Being awake while the world is still dark has its rewards. Witnessing the birth of a new day is quiet, spiritual, uplifting. Our neighbor, Kay, is an early riser on weekdays as well. I see her with her flashlight beam, walking her dog Oreo for his early morning constitutional. From late spring to early fall I often get to see the sunrise from our house in the woods. Almost always on Saturdays. Later it is from my car on the way to work, or from my classroom in the dead of winter.

Sunrise in the woods is not the drastic, wonderful photo opportunity it is where there is a view of the horizon. It happens in subtle shifts. It is a pale, gradual change. When it is hot and muggy, as it is so often here, a morning breeze signals a change in the earth’s respiration.

Forest Floor Spring Ferns

The light changes subtly in the sky and doesn’t alter the color of the forest right away. When the sky is clear, as it is today, the pastels of morning light descend slowly, filtered through the tall pine boughs and lower sweetgum and oaks. Finally the dogwoods and redbuds, just beginning their fall change, add their color as the morning sunlight dapples the soft forest floor. Sunrise takes its sweet time here, but it is no less beautiful than the sunrise in the mountains, or in the desert or on the coast. It is a slow gentle change, and you have to sit with it and breath it in and study it to appreciate it fully.

Spring Sunshine Walking Trail

Leaves stir, and perhaps this awakens the songbirds as much as the first rays of light. As I sit in our back porch the usuals show up for breakfast at the seed feeders. Mourning doves first call from a distance to each other before flying in, their coo sad sounding to me as it reminds me of the dove's brief but meaningful place in The Education of Little Tree. These birds usually eat the leftovers, which have fallen from the feeders. Their bodies don’t fit well under the overhang on our feeders which keep the rain out of the seed. But there is plenty on the ground for them.

picture of Mourning Dove

Cardinals are among the early eaters. The flashy bright red male is almost always accompanied by his mate. He is the bold one who seems to enter the feeding area heedless of anything. When people think of cardinals, they almost always think of the males with their boldness and conspicuous style. The females are the clever ones it seems to me, with their soft brown and sharp crest and warm red edges. She is the cautious one, the camouflaged one, and necessarily so. Let the males get all of the attention.

Chickadees and sparrows are the frightened ones. They zoom in, grab sunflower seeds and zoom out to a nearby tree to crack open their bounty. The are skittish and deferential to the others. Theirs is the sneaking, crafty feeding. They are opportunistic and wait patiently for an opening.

This morning a gang of blue jays swooped in, bullying the others merely with their presence. They don’t seem to relish the seed like some of the others. They, like the intelligent, raucous crows, just seem to shovel out the seed onto the ground, maybe get a sunflower seed or two and then fly away carelessly. Then the others, the titmouse, wrens, house finches and brilliant goldfinch come in two and three at a time, patiently taking turns not seeming to waste any of the seed, even the millet.

butterfly pictures, butterflies picture

As the day comes on stronger and full light reaches everywhere not shaded by leaves, the butterflies and bumble bees arrive. This morning there are several brilliant cloudless sulphurs on the butterfly bushes along with yellow and black swallowtails and a solitary monarch, no doubt on its lengthy migration south. There are gulf fritillaries on the lantana, lots of them, fresh and perfect since they have just emerged from their chrysalises.

Other neighbors wake, the paper is delivered and my own household stirs on this beautiful October Saturday. In a way I hate to share this day, this quiet alone time with the animals and plants and the earth as she awakens. Before the sounds of other humans I can imagine that this is how the earth came alive for thousands, hundreds of thousands of years.

And it is satisfying to be a small part of it, my own breathing shallow, my own heart beating in synch with the natural order of things, even for just a little while.

To the Morning - by Dan Fogelberg

Watching the sun

Watching it come

Watching it come up over the rooftops.

Cloudy and warm

Maybe a storm

You can never quite tell

From the morning.


And it's going to be a day

There is really no way to say no

To the morning.

Yes it's going to be a day

There is really nothing left to

Say but

Come on morning.

Waiting for mail

Maybe a tail

From an old friend

Or even a lover.

Sometimes there's none

But we have fun

Thinking of all who might

Have written.

And maybe there are seasons

And maybe they change

And maybe to love is not so strange.

The sounds of the day

They hurry away

Now they are gone until tomorrow.

When day will break

And you will wake

And you will rake your hands

Across your eyes

And realize

That it's going to be a day

There is really no way to say no

To the morning.

Yes it's going to be a day

There is really nothing left to say but

Come on morning.