There is something that I come to daily, that I never tire of. It is part and parcel of my waking rituals and its effect gauges and tunes my day before it even begins. Because I wake early when it is still dark, I have a chance to see the day open, the same rituals that nature plays out painting a pallette on the sky, and setting a rhythm to the day and to the season.
The delight in doing the same thing over and again is that it is both the same, and different every single time. I never tire of watching the sun announce itself out over the back field. It creeps up over the tree line and starts to cast its warmth and rays in a burst of colour that begins in the sky, and eventually pervades all things. The birds begin to sing, and those things which creep about in the night amble back to that part of nature which remains largely unseen like a heartbeat behind it all.
A degree of separation helps this daily ritual. I can watch this daily performance from the luxury of indoors, braced from the immediate effects of nature by the warmth of a fire, and the buffer of a large patio window. I have as much of the new day as I can handle, but it has never made me want to shut the blinds, oblivious. Sometimes I wander out barefoot even when it is cold and the dew is wet. I like to see the sky and its changing light. Chipmunks scutter about and look at me like I am always a surprise to them. I am invading their space.
In the summer I am particularly pleased to see that I am not alone. The daily ritual also gathers in the neighbour who is aged and stoic. He takes the day in stride weather notwithstanding. He is out there before the sky is light, checking his field where he plants string beans, raspberries, and a host of other things. He does not seem troubled by nature. He comes out in tall rubber boots, a small bucket of water to pick bugs from his plants, and a pair of shorts with suspenders that never seems to hit the wash cycle. As part of nature, he comes out shirtless and it does not seem to bother him. His wrinkly old skin sucks up the rising sun alongside of his plants.
Sitting inside I will go through at least one cup of coffee. I will also have a chance to think over the things that need to be considered, immediately and in the big picture. Big picture is nice. I have a buffer to think over things that you can never premise later in the day when things are in full swing. These are my right brain moments, and they put me in an overall framework to cope with whatever the day may bring. I get a chance to have a good talk with the Man Upstairs and tell Him all the things that on my mind. I get a chance to read some things that are new and to revisit old Scripture with a fresh mind. At a certain point the beams of sunlight are breaking in through the window and scattering across the stone of the fireplace. They spread out across the floor and everyone and everything starts to wake up.
I can never decide whether I like this more because it is familiar, or because it is new every time. It’s one of my favourite things, to partake of the new day as it opens on its own schedule without the need of a clock. I think the most singular pleasures of life, are those most repeated. They are free for the taker, and waiting only for me to attend with my presence.
There is a heady connection between the created goodness of the earth, and the spirit of God which breathes through it. Psalm 24 was written by David the shepherd boy, whose imagination for poetry was awakened in nature I think. He proclaimed looking out at the breaking day, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein... Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?”
I would like to think that these rituals I have come to love, are one way to ascend to the hill of the Lord and to come away with some holy things, every single day.