the gift of a quiet morning

I am outside on a back deck in Oakland, listening to the morning sounds: the suctiony bark of the crow, the meandering and variegated warble of the mockingbird, the the tidal rush of traffic from the highway a few blocks away, the barking dogs, the gas-powered lawn trimmers and leaf blowers — the kids are on spring break this week, so the schoolyard is quiet: no bells to announce when to pass to the next period, no shouts and screams, no corrugated rise and fall counting through sets of exercises. The sun is warm, the breeze cool, the construction finished on the road out front of the house, and I have a little green tea in a “women unlimited” mug, a slice of sourdough banana bread, and an hour before my first appointment. I stayed up late working on an editing project for WritersCorps, and so slept in, am only just getting to the writing now when the sun is  more than a quarter of the way through her day’s arc — I dreamed through all the good fertile dark time.

The first thing I did this morning was to walk through my little garden in my pajamas and my bare feet. What a deep pleasure this is, to have dirt on the toes while still wiping the remnants of dreams from my eyes. I watered a little bit, checked in on all the flowers, patched up a watermelon mound that the puppy had clomped through, and ensured that none of the bush bean seeds were trying to escape from their little hillocks. The puppy fled to the porch so as to avoid getting sprayed by the hose, and from there surveyed her dew-damp kingdom, ensuring that all was well. As I watered, I was draped with the scents of alyssum, blowsy rose, and nasturtium — the jasmine was quiet this morning. I pulled some snails off my nasturtium and strawberries: the snails and I are going to be enemies. Sometimes it’s good to have an enemy you can see, and lift up in one hand, and toss into the compost bin.

What a gift, to have a quiet morning, to let the body rise when it’s ready, to let the words come as they rise, to sit in the middle of this thing that is life and understand that I am not outside of anything — I am welcome.

There’s work to be done: editing and writing, more planting, phone calls and manuscript response. I listen to the deep inside parts of me that want sunshine and birdsong threaded through them. I check the tomato plants to see if they need watering yet. I read again about how to make liquid fertilizer from grass clippings. I sit with the feeling of exposure that rises after I have written and shared something honest after I have had deep and intimate communion with friends. There are bees in the orange blossoms, and I look for them in the apple tree, bright yellow against the blush of pink on white. Gossamer spider web threads reach from the porch out to branches, clothesline. The birds get quiet and I settle, too. This is my meditation. This is my knowing.

The heart doesn’t abide any answers. Yesterday I spent an hour looking through clover patches, searching for one clover with four leaves. I am ready, I think to the clover gods: you can send one to me. I’ve been thinking this at the clover gods for some months, with no response. While searching, the puppy got to play fetch (just a little, as her foot is still healing from a cut she got last week) and got to roll around in the park grass. No matter how much I want to find that good-luck charm, I am never disappointed for the looking — I never feel the time spent fingering through clover is wasted. That’s the only way to find a four-leaf clover, anyway: to look for one. To keep your eyes open, and to believe that they’re out there to find.

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