A late summer morning, the grass thick with yesterdays rainfall. I’ve slept through the night for the first time in over a week, surprised to find myself wakened by the classical music radio station we’ve set as the alarm on our ancient Sony clock radio. 1:30 am, 2:30 am, 4:00 am. For days in a row, my eyes pop open and somehow I just know there will be no return to sleep. “What happened?” my husband always asks in the morning. “Why couldn’t you sleep?"
“If I knew, I’d do something about it,” I said, snapping at him because I truly have no answer, and I don’t like not having the answer.
My life is mercifully ordinary these days. There are no sick parents, no sick dogs. There are no deadlines, no imminent performances, no piles of unpaid bills. My mind has been filled with all these things at one time or another for the past decade, and they have often made sleep elusive.
But not now, not this minute. Right now, everything is quiet, calm. Peaceful. Ordinary.
I am acutely aware of the Grace involved in this, of how many people right now are living anything but peacefully. Anything but ordinarily. How did I get so lucky? I feel some responsibility to hold these ordinary days sacred. To store them up in my memory for whenever the tide turns, whenever what comes next comes.
As I work my way through these ordinary days, I notice something else new. I notice a deliberateness, a lack of frenzy, a willingness to move more slowly. Why hurry? There always seems to be plenty of time now, when for years I felt great urgency to get done with one thing and move onto the next. The tempo of living has changed to allegretto instead of agitato.
Maybe on some days - like this one - even adagio.
The poet Donald Hall once wrote: "The best days are the days when nothing happens.” At the time, we don’t realize it. We want the big things, seek the big experiences. But it is the peace of ordinary days that restores our souls. Maybe I’ve been waking early in order to soak up as much of this lovely peaceful ordinariness as possible.
A late summer morning. The cicadas are calling. Rain clouds have blown away and blue skies envelop us. I will walk the dog, eat lunch, make a grocery list, go shopping. I will write some letters, read a new book. I might pull out the geraniums around the front porch and replace them with bright yellow mums, the ones my husband is so fond of.
Life Goes On in all its beautiful ordinariness.
May it be so for a long, long time.