This I Believe

tessa - Los Angeles, California
Entered on March 25, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in starting-I believe in the early morning, when the air is fresh and still from it’s night’s sleep; cold, clean, moist- it still has the flavor of darkness. Walking my dog in the morning, I thought of how early most children start school, and became grateful that I had to be at school by 8 am and learned early on to wake early. It is a time for small things- dew drops, birdsong, breakfast. It is in the morning that I am most able to attend to details. My attention is focused and my intentions are deliberate and simple. I don’t usually feel rushed or frantic-after all, the whole day is ahead of me and I can exist in each moment because time feels slower somehow. I like the sunlight: pale and angled. These days I wake up to the half-hearted cries of my one-year-old, who knows there is no need to panic, who is not sad or scared, just using the only way he has to call me to lift him out of his crib and into my bed, where he can nurse himself into readiness for the day. It used to be that I would awaken to my journal, or to a quick shower, a cup of tea and the quiet trip to a yoga practice. I loved the communal deep-breathing in an otherwise silent room as we reaffirmed our commitment and discipline with our sweat. I no longer have the luxury of spending the early hours on myself- now I am needed and necessary- but I know I will return to that when my mornings become my own again. Mornings are the time for meditation and prayer, for sweeping the sidewalks, reading the newspaper, for routine. I once heard that breakfast is the most habitual meal of the day- people more often eat the same thing for breakfast repeatedly than they do for lunch or dinner. I believe that that is because morning is a time for ritual. I spent three weeks in Bali, and I remember the offerings placed every morning on doorsteps, on desks, or dashboards. People would sit and weave tiny baskets out of fresh green reeds and fill them with colorful petals, fragrant blossoms, and small bits of food, and then leave them in places where they would be trampled or swept aside. Then they would make another offering the next day. I learned that mornings are precious, and each one is disposable. My husband proposed to me at 6:30 one morning- he knew he could surprise me most at that time, and he was right, because the early morning is a time of infinite possibility before the day has gotten into a groove.