The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
These lines from one of Rumi’s poems came to mind when we were hiking recently at one of our favorite places. It had taken a little effort to get out of bed at 5:00 AM and drive to Enchanted Rock to see the sunrise.
But the views were worth it as the light changed. I’d never before visited that place at sunrise.
The morning felt enough out of the ordinary for me to be awake and mindfully present in the moments of that particular dawn. Those minutes were embued with a special light; we had consciously chosen that time to be in that place. So it was easy to pay attention right then.
Rumi suggests though, that we do something more than only awakening: “Don’t go back to sleep.”
In Thornton Wilder’s timeless play Our Town, which celebrates the importance of the ordinary moments of our lives, Emily asks the all-knowing Stage Manager, “Do any human beings realize life as they live it…every, every minute?” The reply: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”
I’m not a saint, it’s pretty rare that I write a poem, and I don’t think I’m capable of realizing life as I live it each minute. Perhaps the best I can hope for is to do it “some” by practicing wonder in my own way.
Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets, often conveys complex ideas with surprising simplicity. Her poems brim with images from nature and with compelling gratitude. She has secrets to tell us about staying a bit more awake:
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot or a few
small stones; just
pay attention . . .
Write about something that drew your attention in the past day or two.
What lines of poetry or quotes pop into your head at times? What do they mean to you?