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Before They Stir

April 5, 2011

They sleep, silent, sweet and I have come to think that my propensity for waking at four in the morning, an hour and a half before anyone else is up has come to be because it is the only time the house is quiet around me. I don’t wish to be up, don’t need to be up, but sleep is abruptly done, whether I wish it or not, and my mind is a busy hotbed of plans for the day ahead while my body aches from the night and too-long stretches of immobility.

I get this quiet time, not even the cats disturbing me, except Frank who needs a cuddle first, and I start the coffee so that when it’s ready, the smell of it will waft towards my bedroom and my husband, so that he can pour me a big cup while I continue my computer tasks. I sit in this quiet house, this QUIET house, and I suppose it’s my meditation, my chance to appreciate the detritus of the day before, the literal detritus, as I’m too weary the night before to stop and pick up the mess we’ve made.

School papers litter the table and ottoman tops, perch on couch arms, clutter near my chair, my children’s work intermingling with my students’ work. One of the rooster figures leans drunkenly against the ottoman while the other has lost its battle to balance and lies on its side, game controllers and their cords a tangle around them. Even the Buddha statue has fallen over, girls’ toys around him like an offering, Lily’s damned TAKS folder beneath the Buddha, as if she’s recognized the fundamental truth that all life is suffering and it begins with standardized testing.

Blankets, pillows, toys and books, finger nail polish and cotton balls, games, crayons, brushes, skeleton, skull, Madonna, tribbles, and more clutter the room where we live, where we gather for most of our waking hours when we are home, and it shows: this place is lived in by gods! And played in, too.

I have no doubt  that the first step into this house and this room and much is revealed about the inhabitants and our obsessions. It’s cozy, though, if you like always having something to look at, everything at your disposal. It would be hell to be someone in need of lots of blank spaces, lots of emptiness.

My living room is a good representation of the business of my mind, and maybe that’s why for all  that I could undoubtedly use the sleep, sitting here amidst the busy, happy, messy clutter, I start my day a meditation, not of making the mind empty (fat chance), but a meditation of all the wonder and all the knowledge waiting for me to grab hold of and all the chances I’ll have to play.


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