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I stepped outside for a few minutes about 6:15. The sky was just beginning to lighten in the east, and the waning moon was high and bright in the west. There was a brilliant star (planet? I don’t know these things) just under the moon, and another one in the southeast, over the Willow Pond near the by-pass.
I’d stepped out with the intention of bellowing at Rosie, as she was being yappy and I can’t stand a yappy dog. The moon caught my attention and I stood there in the cool air, listening.
My neighbor to the west has a small building in her backyard. It has a little front porch, and dangling from the eaves is a windchime she made of old enamel dishes, small bowls and plates, with a few spoons thrown in. It was clattering softly in the breeze. I thought “good for you, Leisle, for having the courage to make something the entire rest of the world thinks is silly, and for being proud enough of it to grace everyone else’s morning with it’s dulcet chimes.”
The dog barks some more. She hears something I don’t, I guess.
Then it’s the roar of a big diesel engine- the school bus- and the HISS of air brakes as it stops just up the street to pick up the 3 children #4 likes to play with, ages 6,7,8, and their mother only 25 but still finished nursing school and is doing a fine job with those kids. They make a lot of noise, those 3, but that’s ok because when kids make noise you know where they are and what they’re doing.
A brief roar again, and HISS of air brakes, as the bus stops to pick up #4. I think a quick prayer for his safety and that he’ll do his best at school today, then the brakes squawk and the bus roars to the next driveway.
And then it’s quiet. The dog quits barking because the bus is gone, the breeze dies down and Leisle’s windclang stops. The sky has lightened enough the birds are waking up. There’s a mockingbird on the golf course, and I think I’m hearing cardinals in the woods to the north. I step inside, because, in spite of a warm bathrobe, it’s getting chilly.
There’s the sound of Phleud (pronounced “floyd”) batting a jinglebell. The groan of a 16 yr old who really doesn’t want to get up yet, but must because he has his public to consider, and must be at school by 7 even though it doesn’t start until 8. The rush of water through the cast iron pipes of this old-but-not-old-enough-to-be-interesting house as a soon-to-be 18 yr old showers, the thump of dropped soap, the tuneless singing of some unidentifiable song. Some one hollers “Has anyone seen my (X)?” “Where’s my Lit book?” I holler back “What am I, your housekeeper?” and they reply “YES”. Insolent whelps of heck.
And then, as suddenly as it all started at 5:30 am, it’s over. Quiet. Maybe even too much so. Sometimes I relish the quiet, and take the time to pray or meditate, and sometimes it makes me nervous, like I’m being watched closely. Those are the times I put on the music, songs with words, or not. I like the quiet. It pleases me, most of the time. Ok, some of the time, once in a while. But at 6:15 am in the Deep South, it lets you pick out each individual instrument and listen closely, like a Phillip Glass composition. Each sound complementing the other, telling a story, setting the stage for the rest of the day. Windclangs, dogs, diesel engines, an accidental composition forming the character of the day. All it took was just stepping out for a few minutes, and listening.