Dec 7, 2012

Why waking up early can be rewarding

5:30 am: Silence usually spooks me before it stills me.

Regardless of the context - conversation, driving, trying to sleep, writing, studying - I generally need a fair amount of time to settle into silence.  There's something about the early morning hours, though, that renders all of that settling-time unnecessary.

In the interest of full disclosure: it could be the coffee, kicking in.

I'm strongly considering a refill.
But it could also be this hush, this undisturbed calm before all of the day's demands begin to clamor into the places where they ought to back off, thank you very much.

Last night, a beaming little boy told me that he was the first student in eight years to earn 100 on one particular Social Studies test.


Now, my sisterly adoration never hinges on his performance...but I'll admit that I'm just tickled.  It has stymied eight years' worth of third-graders, this class test, but not my brother.  Is it any coincidence, I wondered, that he turned eight last summer?  "Eight years ago," Mum and I chuckled, "a star was born."  Ten days more.  I miss him so.

I just peeked through the curtains and sure enough, the stars that were there a half-hour ago are still blinking away beside the almost-half-moon.

That stubborn fog is always in the way...but trust me, the stars are there.
I've spent the past few days functioning at nauseating speeds.  Mourning a loss morphs into a heavy task at the most unexpected times...which is always inconvenient, but more so when finals loom around the corner.  In the midst of all of that heaviness, these stars blink a pleasant reminder: your world isn't confined to the walls of this apartment.

You need to breathe, girl.

Being on my own like this for nearly four months has taught me - and continues to teach me - much about what makes me tick.  And I've known for years that silence nourishes me, but being abroad has added a new dimension to that idea.  Since August, I've experienced more alone time than I've ever had in New York, either at home or at Union.  And friends, it would be dishonest of me to tell you that being alone has been comfortable.  Quite frankly, 95% of it has had me crawling out of my skin and up the wall.

But mornings like this one remind me, however briefly, that quiet wields a strange power to restore...and prepare...and perhaps - eventually - heal.

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