I wake up before dawn.
I pad downstairs to the kitchen, glowing in the light of my grandmother’s ceramic Christmas tree, to fill the kettle for coffee.
I check the thermometer; 50 degrees in and 29 degrees out.
I build a fire in the wood stove. Two big logs side by side, then paper and kindling in their valley, then another log on top. I scrape a match along the side of the cardboard box and light the paper.
As the fire gets going, I fill the french press and grab two mugs. The mugs clink together like a singular chime, announcing to the one still sleeping that coffee is ready; an accidental signal that now reaches sweetly through any dream to say “join me”.
I set it all on the window sill by the couch, and listen to my shug wake up and come down, a hot cup of coffee ready for him when he reaches the bottom step.
But sometime I am last to come down, fresh from a dream and hair like a bird’s nest, to the fire and hot coffee.
I sit by the window and watch the sky go from inky black to indigo, see the bare trees begin as black vein-y outlines to dove grey skeletons. The hills and the clouds slowly glow pink.
I write. I chat. I stare.
I stoke the fire. I fill my mug and his. I watch the thermometer. I listen to the stove click and groan.
I pad back upstairs to make the bed, tidy the room, and light incense. Cool water on my face. A comb through my hair. Oil on my skin.
Then I sweep the hearth with a handmade broom, open the wood stove door and feed the sweepings to the fire who crackles in sparks in response, rinse the french press, tidy the kitchen, fold the afghans, light incense.
I add a big log to the wood stove and turn the air down, the flames turn into slow dancing things and the stove creaks and clicks in response. This will hold the house for the day.
In the winter, this morning might be 2 or 3 hours long.
Mornings are not a preamble to the day. Not a transition to “get the day started”.
They are a thing unto themselves, a sacred and slow devotional practice that I cherish.
I call it “nun time”. I feel a particular joy from these simple daily chores. I let it be medicine, sweeping the hearth and making the bed; as devotional as any meditation or yoga.
It’s one of the joys of winter, of the long, dark mornings where dreams linger and there’s time.
There’s time if I make time.
I’d get up at any hour to ensure that I have this sweet, slow time.
love & a new year,