I don’t know if it is the gradual shortening of the days as the sun works its way south toward the equator, or the high dense overcast, but this morning is quieter than usual. I hear more distant sounds. A distant rooster is determined to waken the morning. A murder of crows banters as they disappear over the mountain. There are more crickets than I remember. There are the usual birds, but very subdued; barely audible over the crickets.
A squirrel takes exception to one of the cats walking along the drive. He is fussing vigorously from the hickory tree, while a lone killdeer circles over the pasture: its plaintive “killdee killdee” echoes faintly across the valley.
There is not a breath of breeze—the steam rises straight up from my coffee. The quiet of the morning is anything but quiet, but it is very peaceful and soothing, and the coffee tastes especially good.
For me, morning—beginning just before sunrise—has always been the best part of the day. It is the beginning of a new day with all the potential it holds. It is the temporal equivalent of an artist’s blank canvas, with an unlimited pallet of opportunities.
To me, time is a scrolling canvas. The canvas captures some events vividly—they become history—while others fade and are lost. The present is the next brushstroke. Beyond that—the next second, the next day, the next century is the blank canvas of the future. We each have our own place on this canvas. Whatever we do in the next second, the next day, or the rest of our lives, may add to the images that immediately become our history—or they may fade away. Hopefully, there will be images—records or memories—of satisfaction, joy, love, discovery, reflections of how we have treated others, or perhaps an accomplishment or two. The richer the image—our history—the more we have lived on that day. But whatever is recorded is up to each of us, individually.
Will we look back and see images of accomplishment, of activity filled with meaning, joy, despair, something—anything. The tragedy would be for that canvas to record meaningless randomness—a soul adrift with no purpose.
It matters not so much what is recorded, as long as it is accomplished with purpose. Relaxing after a busy week, tedious chores, anything with a purpose—even if it is not the brightest image on the canvas, it is captured as we prepare to paint the next day.
Poets, philosophers, and therapists have all said, in one way or another, at the beginning of each day, we must decide how we will apply ourselves to use this valuable resource—time. You can choose to use it wisely, productively; or you can choose to waste it; or you can relinquish control over your day to the will of someone else—but it is your choice.
If you see me sitting on the porch on a Sunday morning, get a beverage of your choice and join me. Just remember, speak only occasionally and in hushed tones. Mornings are a full sensory event—visual (sunrise, clouds, birds, etc.), auditory (birds, soft breezes rustling leaves, etc.), aroma (fresh air, flowers, corn fields, etc.), touch (chilled air, gentle breezes), and taste—this is when the coffee is at its best.