Almost all of my posts this month have been at night, and they have been later at night. But I’m not a night owl. Not by any means. I am a morning riser, an early bird. I savor the quiet moments when the world is still asleep but the morning star is about to rise. I have a simple ritual to my day. I make my coffee (it’s own little ritual as well), read and then write. I don’t write for the Slice of Life Challenge in the morning. No, I write for myself. Maybe its a journal maybe its a writer’s notebook, I don’t know, and really it doesn’t matter. I write whatever it is that comes to my mind. I must do all this, coffee, read, write, before I start my day. Its a way to let the new day slowly infuse with me, like tea in hot water…though I don’t know if I’m the tea or hot water.
I’ve seen both sides of the early morning hours. In my early twenties, I saw the early morning as a final destination, walking home from a night out with friends. We would marvel at the hush about us, the absolute calm. In that quiet, we owned the world. We were the wide-awake dreamers, the sun gatherers, the shadow catchers. Now, in my mid-thirties, I see early morning as a genesis, the onset, not walking home, but waking it. I marvel at the peace and serenity that each new day brings. In this quiet, I own the world. I am the shepherd, the sentinel, the watchman.
The coffee is made; now it is time to read and write. It is time to welcome the new possibilities in this tranquility.
Ahhh…nothing like the feeling of being back home after a trip. Well, no, there are a lot of things that feel like this, but you get what I’m saying. It’s pretty awesome…Now for an even better feeling..a highly anticipated sojourn in my favorite rendezvous of respite..my bed…
Tell any parent that you are on a two hour trip with two boys ages four and six, and you’ll get a sympathetic sigh. But then tell them that you are now in a traffic jam that will last one and a half hour, and you’ll get a good groan.
Thanks to the modern advances of GPS and Google, I knew it was coming, I k ew how long it would lasst, and, more importantly, I knew there was no way out of it.
Okay…so what do we do? Unbuckle, get out the stuffed animals and have a dance party to some classic rock. As Bruce Springsteen cried out about a Teenage Wasteland we laid waste to the lurching snake of semis, sedans and SUVs. They shook and shimmied while their stuffed dogs and super heroes flew back and forth. Those boys…They sure do know how to have a good time, even in a jam.
I went with the boys to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It’s a large hangar filled with planes from early 20th century bi-planes to more modern aircraft like an F-18 fighter jet.
I didn’t get much of a chance to stop and read about each one, my boys were too intrigued by the indoor carnival rides with their brightly painted old-timey planes attached by a hydraulic arm to a rotating engine. I did get some moments to look around and take in this assortment of mankind’s history of arial conquer.. and what an amazing feat to walk down. I used to be in love with flight, assembling model B-52s, blasting rockets, and even attending the holiest of holies for little space nerds: Space Camp.
But like many of us, that passion seemed to fade proportionately with my childhood. Perhaps as the world lost its lustre so did the finish on my model Saturn V.
Today, walking among riveted steel bodies and wood-winged war planes of WWII, a little spark seemed to return. To gaze at what we have been unable to accomplish as a species in such a relatively short span of time, to take flight, to send dozens of people across the globe in hours even see our planet from space. Yeah, it sparked, and for a jet engine, a little spark can lead to a tremendous conflagration.
I am actually a pretty big fan of a good solo road trip. Whether it’s a couple of hours or a couple of days, driving down the highway with just your thoughts for company can be like a retreat, meditating and musing on the grand and grain of life.
I’m not your normal road tripper though. Most people envision windows rolled down, great music blasting and your favorite guilty pleasure gas station fare being festively consumed. But in my little sanctuary on wheels I bring along a different audio… audiobooks.
It started when I had to spend the second half of a school year commuting 90 minutes to and from work after moving to a new home. At first it was NPR and sports radio. I liked that I could use this time to stay knowledgeable and mentally stimulated so that I could use my time at home more productively. Now back then there was only so much I could stand listing to journalists squabble over every pro and con of Jay Cutler or the upcoming draft and NPR Wass becoming stale, so I moved on to Podcasts. From there I found the pleasure of listening to a good story told by an intriguing and talented story teller could not only help pass the time but also actually made me look forward to driving!
Each time I go on such a journey, I am transported into the world of the book by the lure of a resonant voice and palpable plot. It isn’t until I step out of the car, finally reaching the destination that I realize how entranced I was. The world around me seems unfamiliar, alien and the people strangers. I miss the characters wishing in a way that they could be here with me to enjoy this time. For a few minutes a have each foot planned in two very different locations and I have to let the book slowly drain. So in a way, I don’t take solo road trips, I always have a very verbose, storytelling friend to keep me company.
It’s amazing what a night out with a good friend can do for the soul. Thank you, friend.
Not today. Not going to happen. I really wish I could as there are many stories to tell. But today… today is not the day to tell them. Today is a day to go up to the mountains to rest and to begin again tomorrow fresh and full of words and wonder. There are no words left today. There is only a little wonder. There is only reflection.