It’s o’dark hundred at my house, maybe 4:30 in the morning, or 5:30, depending on when I wake up. I wish I could sleep in, but no. Maybe it’s because the solitary pre-dawn hours are my favorite. The house is still and dark: I am by myself before the sun rises and I like it.
The night before Michael always sets up the coffeemaker with my favorite dark, rich roast, and there’s always a book with which to start my day. My coffee takes its slug of cream and I sit in front of the fire in the family room. During the day this room belongs to Michael and Riley but before dawn it’s just mine. The last chapter of Oliver Sacks’ excellent memoir On the Move awaits me today. The book has been a surprise–he was nothing like his public image. I marvel at his openness and how the most brilliant among us are the most, well, eccentric. His death last year was a huge loss.
As long as I’m up, some mornings I’ll put a pot of vegetables on the stove, the kind that take a long time to cook and then cool. This morning it’s the fresh beets we got in our organic box. It takes a while for them to get tender and so I fill a big pot with water and beets and let them cook while I go about my morning habits.
Two big cups of coffee and pages of reading later, I’m ready for my new morning ritual. Lighting a few candles, I sit on the sofa in the fireplace-warmed room and close my eyes. I bring to mind all those who are sick, in pain or need prayer, especially those undergoing treatments of any kind and those suffering debilitating chronic pain. Holding them in my heart and in the light, I ask that blessings be bestowed upon them and pray for their highest and best good. It’s a beautiful way to begin a new day.
Alone-time has been important to me for a very long time. Maybe it’s because I live so much in my head, but I need quiet time, crave it, even. Depending on what time I get out of bed, I could have three hours of morning solitude, because Riley and Michael aren’t early risers. Even without a job to go to, days can get busy, crazy and even stressful. My morning ritual keeps me sane.
Standing at the kitchen window after checking my pot of beets I see light seeping across the horizon. Morning has broken and so has the spell cast by my morning candlelit prayers. Soon, I’ll go back into the bedroom where Riley has taken my place beside Michael. He’ll look up at me to suss out what I might be doing (could it be food?) but Michael is motionless under the covers. I wish I could prolong those pre-dawn hours. The day is about to start, though, and my mind turns to the business of life: the gym, grocery store, Riley’s groomer and a final session with his trainer, followed by dinner with neighbors.
Day has begun.
If you’ve got a morning ritual or something to say about solitude, let us know in the Comments.