I took my camera with me in the pre-dawn light, walking brisk as the chill in the air to dispel the lingering coolness of the night. I was half-scouting, half-exercising, building stamina the way I’m supposed to be doing to prepare for this baby’s birth. I wanted to clear my head, shout out the questions spinning around inside of it and get some answers – but all I could accomplish was a “breathe in, breathe out” as the words ran away. I could feel only the air against my face, the light coming over the horizon, the ache in my widening hips, the stretching of my body out of its sleepy state.
A woodpecker spent a noisy rat-a-tat in a tall pine over my head. A mockingbird on another street plied his stolen songs in a too-loud voice that reminded me of the proverb about “greeting one’s neighbor loudly in the morning.” I rolled my eyes and wished – ever-so-briefly – for a slingshot. Not that I could see the bird anyway. I could hear the commuter traffic on the nearby highway. I listened for the approach of other traffic in our neighborhood that still wanted to be asleep – in spite of Daylight Savings Time pulling us all from bed an hour earlier than usual. I had been up for two hours already anyway. This baby is an early riser.
The answers didn’t come, not on the breeze, not in the few photos I made myself take in the low light, dreading the editing. Then I was home, and the daily routine was starting here again, and I wouldn’t have time to sit and soak up the sun and sleep as I had over the weekend. There were rooms to get clean, schoolwork to supervise, and work things that couldn’t be put off.
The noise – the busy – is easier to notice. It demands more attention. But in the stillness, there is something to be heard, if one dares to listen to the first bird tentatively trill its first joyful note in the early dark of day, believing that morning is coming because it always has.
The answers are there, in the quiet before the storm of busyness and routine, in the hush that deadens the sound of the questions, leaving room for vulnerability where there was no softness in the tired night before.