Wednesday, January 16, 2013

...morning has broken

Indian River sunrise
Photo taken by my delightful Florida cousin, Lynn Yawn, on his morning walk yesterday.

My sabbatical continues but I'd like to drop in every now and then for a "hello". The best part of blogging is the community that develops. I've appreciated hearing from you.

I woke up a bit before five a.m. No complaints here, though. Mornings are my favorite time of the day. Howard Thurman wrote that he liked to start his day with a simmer. So do I. In my corporate days, I'd get up at five, light a candle, write my "morning pages" (thank you, Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way), meditate, and then write for pleasure. Each segment twenty minutes of soul food. At six-fifteen, I'd meet my friend, Joanie, and we'd walk for forty-five minutes. Then back to shower, dress and head to work. Fueled.

The deep south, where I lived most of my life, morphs from oven temperatures in the summer to deep freeze in the winter. The bay is a more temperate place. We have, however, dipped into the forties over night. So I've made myself a latte. Lit a candle. Slipped into my Irish sweatshirt. Ruminated over the delicate balance between relationship and solitude. And what to cook for dinner tonight when Bill returns. I'm either still the multi-tasker...or ADD.

The Irish sweatshirt took me down a different road so I wrote an email to my now-sister, Bonnie, courtesy of Bill. [For an only child, I've picked up some delightful siblings along the way.] Back to the sweatshirt...which takes me back to Ireland. Jane, my friend and traveling companion, and I each bought one at Sean's shop in Kinsale. Quite the bargain, the lofty, warm hoodie looks like new. Thick and fleecy. Not a single tatty, little pill. I would've bought two if zipping the suitcase hadn't been an issue.

I loved my Irish mornings. First, a shuffle downstairs to the kitchen of the four-hundred plus year old cottage to plug in the kettle. Back up with two cups of tea and two toasts. I'd drop one off in Jane's room, then head back to my little haven and crawl under the duvet. A deep sill ran across the window wall by my bed. On this, my books, my iPod/speaker, and my girlie things: one part library, one part music room, one part dressing table. I'd sip my tea and stare out the window. Read a devotional and meditate. Total silence until the magpies started their day. At eight a.m. the bells of the Angelus sounded a slightly out-of-sync duet: first, the parish church around the corner, then the friary at on the hill above the cottage.

Around nine each morning, I'd stick my head out the upstairs window and yell to Jane that it was a one,  two or three t-shirt day. We'd dress and head out for morning rounds in the village. Chat up shopkeepers, stop by the victualler for chops or chicken for dinner. At the bakery, Tracy would make us a latte and join us if the morning rush had slowed a bit. Back to the cottage for lunch. Afterwards I might go for a long walk while Jane napped. An illness was the precursor of this six-month sojourn. The walks were restorative. Not purposeful, a moving, breathing journey toward hope. I've never felt so at peace or less alone. Jane would join me around three for another loop around the village. We'd head to the library computer to catch up on correspondence, check out a new book, and visit with Eileen, the librarian. Oh, how I miss her. One more stop at the grocery for biscuits (cookies, stateside) and a chat with Jacqui who we met upon arrival and who remembered our names three days later. To most we were "those ladies from Alabama" but Jacqui always called us by name.

We lived in Kinsale from November 1 until May 1. The winter sun set around forty-thirty. We'd head back to the cottage at dusk and I'd make tea while Jane started the peat fire in the living room stove. We'd curl up with a cuppa and biscuits to watch "Midsomer Murder" and a cozy British afternoon talk show. At 6 p.m. a sixty-second television spot: the evening Angelus with an ever-changing video of people pausing from their activities to listen to the bells.

The familiarity of those days, the calm, the blend of quiet and Thanks for joining me in a re-visit. Now I'm out the door, bundled up against the chill, for a walk by the bay. A proper beginning.


Lorrie said...

I've found you via a link Celeste and so enjoyed this reminiscence of a typical day during your stay in Ireland. I feel calm and refreshed after reading it. Thank you for giving us a window into that time of your life. I hope you're enjoying your sabbatical!

Manita Lewis said...

Thanks for dropping by. I love the memories

Charles Van Gorkom said...

It is so good to follow your words again! Thank-you for dropping by on your walk!

BrightSoul said...

Good to hear from you !

our days remain grey, but lovely. I never minded fog..neither did I ever turn up my nose at a sudden parting of it nor reject the bright blue sky with sun! I always feel like a little mole blinking at the sudden jolt of light whenever this happens!!

Today I ment to sew up some rag dolls, and ended up meeting a new friend that left at supper time!!
Yes, Charles did get supper.. a bought meat pie...!!

Charles Van Gorkom said...

A sonnet inspired by your post:

Morning Devotions

They follow you in quietness and peace.
We see their foot prints wetly drawing on
To climb the grassy hill among the trees,
The dew, grey frosty mist and breaking dawn.
Each breath a prayer a praise, a wonder song,
The night of sleep now over, morning come.
All birds and flowing waters sing along,
Defeated shadows to the light succumb
With hooded hearts and folded hands they pray,
While rising sun plays lightly in the trees,
And still they bow and bless the coming day,
Friend and foe alike their intercessories.
Unsung your saints, your prophets, kings,
The cosmos with their morning anthem rings.

GretchenJoanna said...

I like hearing about you walking by the bay, in spite of the cold weather. God bless you, Dear.

Celeste Bracewell said...

Charles, thank you for posting your sonnet. Strong visuals and telling words.

Ah, community...grateful, so grateful.